Travel May Soar To All-Time High This Festive Season, Says IntrCity SmartBus Co-Founder
Intercity travel may soar to an all-time high during the upcoming festival season as an easing pandemic spurs pent-up demand.
Intercity travel may soar to an all-time high during the upcoming festival season as an easing pandemic spurs pent-up demand for both work and leisure travel for the remainder of 2022.
"If I look at all the trends, it does seem that this is going to be one of the bumper travel seasons that we've seen in a long time," Kapil Raizada, co-founder of long-distance bus service platform IntrCity SmartBus, told BQ Prime. "There is a lot of pent-up demand for travel."
He expects the next four months to be the busiest for the company as the pent-up demand creates new records in terms of volumes since its inception in 2019. "Since March, the demand for travel has been one of the highest that we've seen," Raizada said.
The festival season, which has already started in some states with Onam, Rakshabandhan, and Ganesh Chaturthi, is typically considered the peak season for economic activity. In the last two years, activities were dampened by the impact of Covid-19.
The coming festival season may help businesses in the transport industry to recoup some of the losses incurred over the last couple of years due to Covid-19 induced countrywide lockdown.
“There's a fair bit of excitement, I think, in the industry to be able to recover from all that we've seen in the last two or three years," Raizada said. "So, there’s an expectation that we should be looking at 50% growth in the next six months.”
The company, backed by Nandan Nilekani’s NRJN Family Trust and the venture capital arm of Samsung, achieved profitability at an operating level for the first time during the first quarter of the current fiscal.
With 2 lakh of monthly seat capacity and an 80% increase in revenue in the first six months of 2022, the company is planning to more than double its revenue to $100 million in annualized returns in the next 12 months.
While the business and leisure categories of passengers have reached pre-Covid levels, students are yet to return to the intercity buses.
However, the company sees that changing in the coming months as colleges and hostels open all over the country. Business travelers account for 60% of the total passengers, while leisure and student categories account for 25% and 15%, respectively.