April 2020

7 ways travel will change post COVID-19

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Travel industry and leisure driven travel will never be the same again post COVID19. Government regulations will be strengthened, and tighter guidelines will mean restricted entry to other countries.

Travel companies will have to realign their priorities to the new normal, for one, domestic travel will increase rapidly over international travel. It will be important for airlines, tour operators, and hotels to catch this trend early on with clear operating and marketing strategies.

Here are some of the trends we foresee will happen soon –

 

  1. Travel will increasingly become purpose driven. Corporates are restricting travel to bare minimum with the newfound productivity of Work From Home (WFH) scenarios. The budget driven traveler on the other hand, will adopt a wait and watch attitude.

 

  1. For international travel, passport may not be the only documents you may have to carry. Latest health documents listing out your past and latest illness may become mandatory.

 

  1. Long queues at immigration counters will be the norm as countries will enforce tough screening norms especially for people coming from other countries. Even after the lockdown is over and people start to travel again some countries may insist on border testing with swabs and then wait several hours before you get the results.

4. Domestic travel will boom as people will be more comfortable with travelling within the country. Shorter travelling distances will also become increasingly preferable.

 

  1. Host countries will also have to prove that they are safe for tourists. This goes beyond having the lowest infection rates, but also having credible infrastructure in place in case the tourists do get sick.

 

  1. Insurance industry will be one of biggest gainers post COVID 19 they will have to work out a strategy to include pandemics in future. Flex insurance has seen a spurt in demand because of its unique terms, it allows a passenger to cancel his flight within a few hours of its departure without any loss to himself.

 

  1. Ultimately tourism is sustainable because of the environment and its people. One thing COVID 19 has taught us is that the earth and people fight back if we do not protect it. Sustainable and responsible Tourism will gain its much-required importance and seriousness.

There is a lot of uncertainty and the future is unpredictable, but one thing we know for certain is that the industry landscape will not remain the same. It is time we reinvent ourselves to adapt our businesses to changing behaviours and environments. Work and recreation must be reprioritized, and leisure must be reinvented to include wellbeing and long-term sustainability of the country rather than profit and ambition.

How to make the most out of this lockdown?

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As the world finds itself standing face to face with the COVID-19 pandemic and most countries having announced a lockdown to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, a blanket of fear, uncertainty and loss of control has seemed to inevitably envelope our entire existence. In the midst of all the chaos however, there is a silver lining which we all must look towards, and that my friends is to  make the most of this lockdown. Now, before you click away in frustration, let us plant a small idea in your mind…one small idea that can cause you to change your perspective about the entire global scenario and turn your frown into a proud grin. The idea is simple, use this time to cultivate empowering habits that will not only last till the lockdown does, but will continue to aid you throughout your life. Think about it, with this  sudden surge in free time, we could all get rid of at least one nasty habit and replace it with a new one or get back to rediscovering abandoned hobbies or passions, there has never been a better time to change than now, so why not just jump into it!

Here are a few habits that we must totally adopt during this time:

  1. Maintain proper hygiene and practice social distancing:

Ensure that you wash your hands regularly for a minimum of 20 seconds, with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub a.k.a hand sanitizers. Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue every time you cough or sneeze and avoid social gatherings like the plague! Kindly stay indoors, this temporary restriction of freedom in essence, is your contribution towards saving the world.

  1. Take charge of your body:

Irrespective of what shape, size, colour or gender you are, use this time to truly assess your level of physical health, which is an umbrella term used for both- Diet as well as exercise. Ghar ka khaana for us Indians is the ultimate immune boosting diet that exists. Load up on citrus fruits and vegetables; add a few nuts and spices like Turmeric, Ginger, Garlic and Cinnamon to your meals.

There are a variety of indoor exercises which can be chosen based on your preference and level of fitness such as Jump Rope, simple yogic asanas, basic body weight exercises, Dancing, YouTube workouts, and with all domestic helpers on leave, cleaning!  Simple body stretches will also go a long way and energise your fatigued body. Move your body for at least half an hour everyday and do it consistently.

  1. Show yourself some love:

Indulge in some self-care which starts with taking care of your mind first. Meditate for a few minutes right after you wake up to cleanse your mind of all the fear and negativity and watch yourself calmly sail though the day. Make a face pack using ingredients at home, or ask one of your family members to give you a relaxing “champi” (the ultimate Indian head massage). This is also a great time to practice introspection and review any kind of life decision without inviting a panic attack.

  1. Skill up or bring abandoned interests and hobbies back to life:

Almost any kind of skill can be learned pretty quickly considering the innumerable options available on the internet. There exist great platforms and learning websites that teach you courses such as Udemy, Skillshare, Coursera etc. Try to head back out into the world with skill-sets that may actually serve you in the future, post-lockdown. Now is also the time to develop new hobbies or bring the old ones back to life. Don’t let that guitar that you brought a few years ago gather dust in your closet…or just read some untouched books lying around in your book shelf.

  1. Make memories:

Whether you realise it or not, this is actually a great time to spend time with family and make lovely memories. Cook together, play antakshari or relive your childhood by playing Uno, Ludo or any other board game that must be lying in some corner of the house. If you’re particularly lazy and are binge-watching movies on Netflix, include your family and watch the fun.

  1. Create a wish list:

Write down everything that you’d want to do once the lockdown is lifted. Create a bucket list, or a wish list which can include anything from taking your aged grandmother for a walk in the park to just going to your favourite eating joint to catch up with friends or finally making the decision to quit your dead-end job.

Understanding India’s Travel Behaviour

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A few months ago, when the world was a little less chaotic and one was bustling with their travel plans, we at Go Magic Trails decided to run a survey to know what exactly we Indians expect and think before we go ahead with any travel plans?

Take a look at the responses we received that help you understand the various factors an average Indian traveller considers while planning their holiday. Let’s use this quarantine time effectively to re-strategise and realign our objectives to match a traveller’s requirements and identify gaps we can plug in.

The Most Popular Indian Food in the World

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The Indian cuisine needs no introduction whatsoever especially after having gained a spot on the “Most Wanted” and the “Tastiest” list of cuisines around the world. One of the most fascinating things about India is that there is a change in not just the type of food cooked, but the culture, language, and traditions every few hundred kilometres or less. This diversity seeps into every geographical region which has its own unique cooking style reflecting the demographics of the ethnically diverse country. The evolution of food in the Indian subcontinent has been greatly influenced by the large scale cultural interactions with countries around the world. Ours is the only cuisine world over that uses spices in such abundance that meat and vegetables seem like an afterthought which clearly shows the dedication of Indian cooks to flavour.

Needless to say, one such flavourful dish that foodies love to gorge on, is Biryani!

 

There is a huge variety of biryanis today thanks to Mumtaz Mahal- Emperor Shah Jahan’s queen who is believed to have inspired the dish back in the 1600s. What was once served as a dish for royalty is today devoured everywhere around the world. As if Biryani’s historical journey from Persia to your plate wasn’t impressive enough, this dish requires simple ingredients like rice (ideally basmati), spices, a base of meat, eggs or vegetables and other optional ingredients such as nuts, yogurt and dried fruits. For all those who have always wanted to try and cook Biryani at home but ended up ordering it from a restaurant instead, now is when all the free time can be put to good use and you could cook this jaw-dropping dish and truly impress your family and friends. Before scooting off to the kitchen read the following pro tips that will boost the taste of your dish even if you have never cooked anything other than Maggi in your life.

  1. Basmati Rice: Blindly choose premium quality basmati rice that is labelled as “Aged”. This type of rice remains firm, fluffs up well and is wonderfully fragrant.
  2. Spices: Always choose good quality whole spices and spice powders.
  3. Chicken: The chicken breast pieces dry out if not marinated well with yogurt, so if you prefer tender and juicy pieces of chicken in your biryani, then just use chicken thighs and drumsticks. Also, leaving the bones in makes the dish more flavourful.
  4. Ghee: Using ghee instead of oil adds great flavour and aroma to the dish.
  5. Marination: Marinating the chicken using yogurt and spices is super important. This step causes the chicken to become tender and absorb all the flavours of the spices.
  6. Rice preparation: Never skip rinsing and soaking the rice well before using. Getting rid of all the starch prevents rice grains from turning mushy.
  7. Water: This particular recipe calls for the use of plain water to cook the dish, however, it may be replaced with chicken stock or coconut milk.

 

Here is the delicious one pot chicken biryani recipe:

Preparation Time 1 hour
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Serves 4 people

 

Marination ingredients for chicken biryani
½ Kg Chicken
3 tbsp plain yogurt
1 ¼ tbsp ginger garlic paste
Salt as needed (ideally use ½ tsp)
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ to 1 tsp red chilli powder/ paprika
½ to 1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)

 

Whole Spices (skip if you don’t have any)
1 Bay leaf
4 green cardamoms
4 to 6 cloves
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 star-anise
¾ tsp shahi jeera or caraway seeds
1 strand mace a.k.a javitri

 

Other ingredients for chicken biryani (1 cup= 240 ml)
2 cups basmati rice (aged rice only)
2 tbsp ghee or oil
1 large onion sliced thinly
12 to 15 mint leaves chopped
¼ cup plain yogurt/curd
¼ to ½ tsp red chilli powder
3 cups water (3 ½ cups if cooking in pot)
1 tsp garam masala
1 green chilli chopped
¾ tsp salt (to sprinkle in water)
2tbsp fried onion (optional)

 

Preparation for chicken biryani
1.       To a bowl, add curd, ginger garlic paste, ½ tsp salt, biryani masala powder, turmeric and chilli powder.
2.       Mix it all up and taste the marinade mixture. Add more salt and spice if required.
3.       Make gashes on the chicken, add it to the marinade and set aside for 1 hour.
4.       Rinse basmati rice thrice and soak for 30 minutes and then drain the water.

 

How to make chicken biryani
1.       Heat ghee or oil in a cooker or pot.
2.       Sauté all the whole spices for a minute.
3.       Fry onions evenly stirring often until light brown.
4.       Add marinated chicken and sauté for 5 minutes on a medium heat.
5.       Cover and cook on low flame until the chicken is tender.
6.       Continue to sauté till all the excess moisture in the pot is evaporated.
7.       Add yogurt, mint, green chilli, red chilli powder and 1 tsp garam masala.

 

Layering for chicken biryani
1.       Mix everything well and layer the chicken pieces evenly at the bottom.
2.       Spread rice in a layer over the chicken.
3.       Pour 3 cups water or thin coconut milk to a bowl. If cooking in a pot, use 3 ½ cups of water.
4.       Add ½ to ¾ tsp salt and mix. Taste the water, it must be slightly salty.
5.       Pour 2 cups of this water across the sides of the cooker or pot. Gently pour the rest on top of the rice.
6.       Level the rice if needed. Sprinkle mint and fried onions.
7.       Pot method: If cooking in a pot, cover and cook on a low flame until the chicken biryani is done to your liking. If the rice is still undercooked or hard, sprinkle some hot water and cook further.
8.       Cooker method: Set the flame to medium high. Cover and place the whistle and cook for 1 whistle. Move the cooker away from the burner to stop cooking further.
9.       Rest until the pressure settles. Fluff up the chicken biryani with a fork.
10.   Serve from top to the bottom layer. Each serving gets biryani rice from top and chicken from the bottom layer.
11.   Enjoy chicken biryani with raita sliced veggies, papad and shorba.