06 March 2022, Jaipur – India
At the time of writing this blog, cases are dropping drastically in India and especially in Rajasthan (around 200 cases a day) which is the hub of Indian Tourism. I traveled to India from New Zealand on 6th December 2021 when the Omicron variant started to become a new matter of concern. I traveled from Auckland to New Delhi via Dubai in the Emirates. Travel went smooth except a long halt at Dubai for about 37 hours, which was tackled well by Emirates as they provided an overnight hotel near Airport. The second glitch was to get tested at Delhi Airport. Surprisingly New Zealand was on India’s red list with South Africa and the U.K. At that time New Zealand only had about a dozen cases a day.
The process to get tested was ok which cost me about 70 NZD. I had to wait for 3 hours to get my result which was luckily negative. India introduced itself fabulously with Chaos at the immigration queue. It was packed, social distancing just felt to be impossible in the situation. It was a minute of mismanagement because Haj Travelers and workers arrived on flights full from the Middle East. The Indian Authorities acted quickly and queues were cleared in a matter of minutes.
During my next few days, everything seemed more normal compared to New Zealand. However, the cases were increasing at that time, and safety measures were in place, strictness was just lesser. Those increase in cases just kind of died in the next few weeks. At the time of writing this blog, the reported cases in the whole country of 1.5 billion people are between 4 to 5 thousand. So India seems pretty safe to travel right? But restrictions on commercial flights are not over yet. Sadly New Zealand is facing a huge rise in cases at the moment. I strongly hope New Zealand gets relief soon so the restrictions on travel fade away so we start seeing those lovely people again traveling to India soon.
What we are planning to make our tours safer?
Our tours of India and style of highly personalized travel with small group tours only and private tours were highly appreciated before the pandemic and we have just worked on it to make it better during the pandemic. Visiting new properties and talking to new people was the job we did when we had no bookings to work on and it turned out so good that we were able to finalize our itineraries with luxury 5-star hotels and luxurious homestays focused on personalized hospitality. These properties have upgraded themselves with extra measures of safety.
We have also upgraded our luxury Maharaja Van to a Luxury Maharaja Minibus with an inbuilt toilet so our guests have the facilities onboard and will have fewer visits to public toilets. Also don’t have to really mention that we’ll have masks and sanitizers available on board and all of our staff are fully vaccinated.
So in short we are ready and feeling pretty confident that we are ready to serve our guests on our end during current situations, just awaiting for restrictions to ease up so once our guests have the freedom to travel we are all good to go! With India allowing commercial flights again in March and as New Zealand opened up the borders for Kiwis without quarantine recently, things are taking shape, and looks like exciting times are nearby.