Jungle Lodges to be affordable for the common man: Pushkar

Jungle Lodges & Resorts has always been a favorite among both domestic and international visitors. This year, Kumar Pushkar, the newly appointed Managing Director of Jungle Lodges and Resorts Ltd, has big plans for the resort.

In an interview with Caroline Diana from Voyager’s World, he shares the roadmap for 2021.

2020 has been a year of unprecedented challenges, with tourism and hospitality being the most affected. What were your learnings during this challenging phase? How can travel companies be better prepared for 2021?

The unprecedented and unexpected Covid-19 pandemic was shocking for the travel trade, which was most badly hit across the World. One of the biggest employment creating sectors, which contributed the maximum to the GDP of most of the states and countries, almost destroyed the sector, leading to huge losses of jobs as well as the closure of many of the travel-based companies.

In fact, no one can be prepared for this kind of situation, I would tell that the Travel industry can be stronger and more robust to face such situations if we adopt the following practices:

We should always have some reserve cash, earned and saved on regular basis, to be kept aside to support such distress times. In fact, Jungle Lodges is one company, which kept saving the profit amounts, since last 5-6 years, which helped it sail through the severe financial crisis.

We should try and employ maximum staff from the local area, as it ensures availability of the workforce during such period. In fact, many hoteliers lost their staff, as many migrated to their native states.

All the companies must have insurances to cover the damages and losses, suffered due to such disasters/ pandemics/ local disturbances. We must have SOPs for survival and revivals, whenever the business is badly hit, as it happened due to Covid-19.

You recently took charge as the Managing Director of Jungle Lodges. As a former chief of KSTDC, you also bring a wealth of experience to your new role. In view of that, what can guests look forward to in Jungle Lodges this year?

Jungle Lodges & Resorts shall be strengthening itself in the field of improved nature-based activities and improved housekeeping and hospitality services. We shall be focusing on our core strength, i.e., the presence of naturalists, and shall work on their skill upgradation and refreshing their knowledge. This is our USP and it shall make a visible difference. We would also improve on our hospitality services as well as the food. Most importantly, we would work on making Jungle Lodges affordable for the middle class or the common man by offering our properties at much more affordable rates, and with dynamic pricing.

What steps are you taking to promote Jungle Lodges this year?

Jungle Lodges & Resorts is working on improving its presence in the potential market using the social media and we do have a very good reach and following. We have also started the outdoor media publicity. We intend to participate in roadshows to be organized by Karnataka Tourism in the coming days. Based on the Covid-19 situation, we shall formulate our future strategy.

In your opinion, which destinations in Karnataka do well, and why?

Destinations related to nature and wildlife are doing well, which includes major parts of the Western Ghats areas that comprise forests, coffee plantations, and having a good number of high-end resorts and homestays. The main reason is that people want to stay safe and hence avoid crowded places like cities/ towns and unknown places, where the safety protocols are not guaranteed.  This trend shall continue till the Covid-19 is controlled.

Moreover, people want to come out of their homes after long confinement at home due to lockdown, travel restrictions, and work-from-home restrictions, resulting in growth of local tourism as well as revenge tourism.

What’s your opinion of the state government’s role in promoting tourism during these uncertain times?

The government has already done its best by allowing the tourism activities right from June 8 and it has also issued detailed safety protocol guidelines for all the Travel and Tourism industry and organizations.

The tourism department is also mulling over the aggressive promotion of Karnataka tourism on various media platforms, alongside conducting roadshows and participating in online and offline travel and tourism events, to promote Karnataka as a safe destination.