While seemingly a step in the right direction, the 15th December judgment has had a definitely negative effect on many industries, including the travel industry. Though meant to be a step directed at curbing the menace of drunk driving on the highways, in many cases the negatives are seemingly outweighing the positives.
The travel sector is an amalgamation of multiple services that work together to form a comfortable experience for the end users – travelers. With the alcohol ban in place, this intricately-linked chain of services sees a sudden disruption, with the worst hit being the hotels and restaurants serving along the highways. These hotels and restaurants serve as relaxation pit stops on long journeys and alcohol has been known to comprise a large chunk of the demand among patrons.
To provide better perspective of the scenario in most prominent travel routes, one can look at the current scenario in hill stations. Here, the highways usually tend to be the arterial road through which travelers pass. Therefore, most hotels and restaurants are situated along these highways to provide convenient stopovers for travelers. If the law forbids the sale of alcohol in such establishments, it will leave the traveler with two choices – either head into the interiors and lose on time in this detour or switch over to other routes and destinations that suit their needs.
Though the law makes certain notable exemptions to its application such as the reduced 220 mts limit on highways in hill station and complete exemption of certain northeastern states, these just serve as minor respite of what is turning out to become a permanent problem.
If this particular ruling continues to be implemented, the travel sector would be under severe threat of succumbing to above-mentioned aftereffects of the judgment. Travelers look for convenience on their travels rather than restrictions and this would in turn lead them to foreign destinations with policies that cater to the tourists with much lighter restrictions in place.
When travelers head out of the nation in search of experiences they could have found within the country, they bring along the possibility of etching a bad image of our country as a travel destination to the world.
Neither is an outcome that is desirable and therefore, our voices need to unite together to speak up against heading towards such realities and come up with mutually amicable solutions.
[About the author: Viren Batra is the Co-founder &CEO of Nirvana Excursion.]