The fact that the tourism sector relies heavily on the hospitality sector is known to all. The inflow of tourists to any place needs several services at their disposal, more importantly food. However, the hospitality sector is just as much dependent on the local tourism to thrive – that’s why Delhi based restaurateur Navneet Kalra likes to consider restaurant business and tourism the sides of the same coin.
Navneet Kalra, who is also the owner of Khan Chacha restaurants in Delhi, believes that while food adds a different appeal to the tourism of a particular place, the connection is not one-way. “A great many people love to explore the culinary offering of the place they are visiting. Sometimes, people end up visiting a place only because they wish to try out a certain cuisine,” he says.
“It is this very connection that makes the restaurant industry rely on tourism for its growth. The recent times have been solid evidence of the fact that if the tourist inflow to a particular place is affected, the restaurant business dwindles as well. A better tourist influx is always a good sign for the restaurants operating in the region in terms of both revenues and employment,” adds Navneet Kalra.
The extension of Kalra’s claim can be seen in the growing popularity of travelling for food, better known as ‘food tourism’. People undertake travels not just to sightsee or explore the scenic natural beauty of the destination, they also intend to explore the vast range of delicacies that the local food outlets have to offer. The presence of good restaurants becomes even more important for travellers who feel homesick and crave for a bite of their native food in a foreign land.
According to the Khan Chacha owner, food tourism is gradually emerging as a distinct sub-category, and a diverse country like India holds great promise with respect to growth in the years to come. “The diversity in terms of language, culture and food in India mesmerises the travellers. With food tourism gaining ground, India has become more than a country with great places to visit – it is also a country that offers diverse and delectable food,” he says.
Navneet Kalra is quick to point out the interdependency of food and tourism once again. “However popular the trend may be for the tourism sector, it nevertheless is dependent on the restaurant industry and benefits it offers. If one gets affected due to the pandemic or any other factor, the other is bound to come to a standstill as well,” he quips.