"Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going."
- Paul Theroux

Views & Interviews

Q&A: Young professionals look back at “2020”

November 2020

It’s been nearly eight months since the pandemic situation put our lives on hold – and every week has been a test of our patience and survival skills. While this can be testing for individuals, AIRDA’s member resorts faced the never-before experience of coping with lockdowns.

Current efforts look to consolidation, and exploring ways to bring back member guests and customers – with all precautions taken to ensure safety protocols and best practices outlined for the hospitality industry.

In the last months of 2020, people will view 2021 as the forward-looking year for business and enterprise, a year of turnarounds. The world as we knew it has probably changed forever – but there’s always hope for survival, growth and consolidation.

This month’s Q&A session is about the thoughts, feelings and emotions of people who put all vacations on hold, since March / April this year. In many cases, bookings were made but the pandemic played spoilsport.

We now share some excerpts from interviews with the same five professionals we had conversations with, in April this year. One of them even said this: “Earlier we took a vacation to take a break from work – interestingly now I’d like to take a break from the monotony of the pandemic.”

From what you can see, they are now upbeat about the coming months and wanting to test the waters. And that in itself is a good start. Let’s see what these young people have to say.

Mallika Kumar – IT consultant

Well, it’s been eight months since things got eerily quiet. During the first lockdown many of us did not know what was behind the virus story that was gaining momentum by the day. While this was a first for us, it has taught us to look at things one day at a time, and look at tomorrow with some hope.  

Looking back, it wasn’t just the holidays that Covid ruined – it turned workplaces inside out. Some of us have been fortunate to be able to work from home, but those who actually needed to be out there at work, it must have been a real big challenge.

Though the prospect of going for our annual vacation sounds very interesting, I would like to wait and watch. We need to be doubly responsible, because it’s about taking the kids along as well. Well we do get regular updates from our resort on Covid-related guidelines being followed, and the extent to which they are going to make things really safe. I think that in itself is a good start.

Veena Bhaskaran – interior designer

Way back in April, I saw your interview with Lesley Wong, CEO at Lesley Wong Interiors. And I have followed her work on social media ever since, where she deals with the challenges of designing interiors at hotels, keeping the pandemic situation in mind.

Being an interior designer myself, I do understand what a huge responsibility this is, both to resort managers who have to think of every little customer touch-point and find ways to make things safe. Guests at a resort too need to be fully aware of potential risks and follow every single guideline shared by resort managers.

The best way of moving forward, is when resort managers and guests go hand-in-hand in terms of compliance and play safe to the best extent possible. I am happy that people are making an effort to get things back to normal, which is extremely reassuring.

If all goes well, I might soon be planning my annual vacation for 2021. Just thinking of that possibility is doing me good.

Gauri Srinivasan – investment advisor

In April, when I last spoke with you, I had mentioned that it was really hard to convince my children that our holiday plans were on hold. I guess we must have come up with diversion tactics that worked - to convert a non-holiday into constructive and engaging family time at home.

And the fact that my husband too, was on work-at-home mode made things really easy in terms of dividing the chores, or helping our children with games, or online assignments from school.

But now, I do want to take that break from this stay-at-home monotony. I am actually looking forward to a quiet vacation at our home resort – which is just six hours away if we drive down. Earlier we took a vacation to take a break from work – interestingly now, we want to take a break from the monotony of the pandemic.

Aarti Nayak – graphic designer

As a graphic designer, part of my job over the last six months has been in the area of creative work to build awareness of safety measures, the need to wear masks and other aspects of social distancing. And it’s been an awareness journey for me as well – because if I am working on safety guidelines, I need to follow my own advice.

For those in media and communications what’s really difficult is the effort to counter all the rumors going around on the virus, or why it’s not such a serious threat. So we need to work twice as hard to get a believable message across.

And for those working with holiday resorts it must be equally challenging, because you need to do two things. One, you need to tell your members that the resort is working hard at following safety protocols and guidelines. Two, you need to tell them that they can actually start making vacation plans once again and make those bookings.

There’s one more thing they need to do – they need to keep in touch, regularly, and update members about government guidelines that may be revised from time to time as the situation unfolds.

Rajiv Agarwal – independent architect

As an architect, I agree with the comment made by interior designer, Veena Bhaskaran. The pandemic situation does call for new ways to look at resort interiors, purely from the safety point of view.

The structural elements of the building are already there, so you can’t really pull down and reconstruct. But if I were to work on a new resort project I can visualize the planning of inner spaces and outer spaces in anticipation of similar outbreaks in the future.


And like Veena Bhaskaran says, we too are planning our annual vacation for 2021. Though we have gone on short weekend getaways nearby in the last two months, there’s nothing like a real week-long vacation at your timeshare resort. If all goes well I will share our experience with vacation pictures in our next interview.

Comment from the content team at AIRDA:

You have just heard what these vacation seekers have to say about missing out on vacations. For a lot of people, watching television shows on OTT platforms was the only entertainment possible.

In our conversations with AIRDA members, we have found that there’s an enormous amount of effort that’s being made to plan safety measures carefully, and train resort staff in the correct ways to implement safety measures.

Just like customers are waiting to head out on a vacation, resort owners too are waiting to welcome customers. There’s been too much of quiet for too long. They want to hear the splashing around in the pool. They want to hear laughter. They want to see children running around. And they want to hear the clinking of glasses at the restaurants and bars.

All of that means they are back in business, and at your service. Watch this space for more information on this.

All images used with purchased credits from www.123rf.com

Content Disclaimer: The views expressed in our interviews and stories do not necessarily reflect the official policies, practices and guidelines of the All India Resort Development Association, or its members. These views are based on personal experiences, private opinion, or open source information. (Images used here are either "paid-for" stock photos, images shared by the people we interview, or images under one of the open source licenses such as Creative Commons and others.)

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