The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recommended tourism destinations such as Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the North-East strictly enforce pandemic protocols and seek vaccination certificates and covid-19 negative tests from visitors before allowing entry.
The apex biomedical research body warned that revenge tourism will trigger a third wave of Covid-19 pandemic if hill stations and tourist destinations don't strictly enforce COVID-19 protocol.
Taking data from popular hill station Himachal Pradesh, the ICMR suggests that in a typical holiday season, tourism can increase the population (and thus population density) by 40%.
Relying on mathematical models, the ICMR said, "A sudden increase in population density due to incoming tourists or mass congregation due to social, political or religious reasons can worsen the third-wave scenario”
So, what is revenge tourism?
After over a year in lockdown, several people have become tired of the monotony and are looking for a change in environment. With the coming of the vaccine, many people are optimistic about travelling, despite the fact that not everyone has been vaccinated yet. This urge to travel after being cooped up in lockdown for over a year, despite the dangers it poses, is called revenge travel.
Revenge travel or revenge tourism, stems from a feeling of wanting to break free from the monotonous life of lockdowns. It is a product of another phenomenon called ‘lockdown-fatigue’, coined last year by AIIMS Delhi director Dr Randeep Guleria.
Now, people confined for months and intoxicated with wanderlust are heading to hill station hotels and resorts aching to host them. The fact that it’s the time of the year when sweltering heat pushes Indians to take summer vacations doesn’t help the cause either.
In simpler terms, people are tired of following the same routine day after day, working from home, unable to step out in the fear of contracting coronavirus. This has led to a sort of fatigue that makes them want to escape to the hills or other tourist destinations, a concept, also known as revenge travel.
The ICMR has said that in the wake of the overwhelming second wave throughout India, ‘revenge travel’ — or an urge to travel after being under restrictions for an extended period of time — is a term increasingly being used by the media to describe what has been observed in Manali, Darjeeling and other popular tourist destinations.