With luxury hotels promising 100 percent safety and hygiene,
wedding galas can still be just the way you always wanted, in the paradise of your dreams,
albeit with fewer numbers
In India, weddings are like mini-festivals, with strong bursts of colour, foot-tapping music, traditional ceremonies and gaiety adding to the Bollywood-like sparkle. Happy smiles and the laughter of long-lost relatives and friends create everlasting memories. A lot of joy around a wedding is in the planning for it, curating exclusive events, putting together mood boards and making everything look prettier than usual.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the world and the way we view it in many ways. The precautionary measures make it impossible to host grand wedding galas, and the events are now restricted with fewer guests and hence, a little less of the lavish bling, so characteristic of the big fat Indian wedding, as we know it.
Some couples have gone in for digital weddings, with the extended family witnessing the ceremonies live over group video apps (we reported on this in our last Issue). However, the tourism and the weddings industries are extremely buoyant, and many Hotels and wedding planners have been promising 100 percent health and hygiene in wonderous locales, so that weddings, in Covid times, can bring as much joy to the couple and the extended family and friends, as is always dreamt of. Plenty of high value packages are on offer to those looking for Covid-safe weddings.
For instance, Arvind Bundhun, Director, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, says: “There will be a new way of doing things now. Social distancing and hygiene will be the most important thing to be focussing on. We will give full support to all our stakeholders like wedding planners, hotels and airlines, as all will be asked to abide by strict standards of hygiene.”
“Since April 26, no local cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in Mauritius,” states the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority. Exchanging wedding vows amid breath-taking beaches, lagoons and reefs seems like a very good idea—and with safety and hygiene assured, Mauritius is a promising wedding destination.
Experts are coming to terms with the new normal and adapting to the change, holding out promises that ensure health issues are being taken care of. Mme. Nia Niscaya, Deputy Minister for Marketing, Ministry of Creative Economy, Republic of Indonesia, states: “Destination weddings are welcome, but initially only in small groups to maintain social distancing and hygiene. Once the pandemic is totally contained in both countries, we will welcome the big fat Indian weddings at the archipelago.”
Jamaica and Monaco, known for blissful waterfalls and drool-worthy locales, evoke a lot of interest from couples looking for honeymoon locales, and both the travel boards from the respective cities have left no stone unturned to invite guests, ensuring complete safety and hygiene.
The Monaco Government Tourist and Convention Authority rolled out an endearing campaign that resonates well with tourists called “MISS YOU”, showcasing everything that the tourist may be missing out on. “The Principality of Monaco is following the Covid-19 epidemic very closely and is focused on ensuring the health and safety of all people. Protective measures are communicated and compulsory at all our establishments, which include social distancing with ground marking, foot traffic management within premises…occupancy is limited to at most one person for every four square meters,” said Rajeev Nangia, India Director, Monaco Government Tourist Bureau.
He added that the usual safety measures of using masks, temperature checks of guests and employees, hand sanitizers at points of contacts and regular sanitisation at places of touch like handles, elevator buttons, etc will be practised ritually.
In a 360-degree virtual tour of the city, Monaco Tourism Board has created a safe online world of events like Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Opera de Monte-Carlo and Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra. It’s as if you’ve stepped right onto the streets of Monaco.
For beach-loving holidayers, Jamaica is another paradise that promises luxuries and safety in Covid times. Chief Executive Officer Shane Munroe and Chief Operations Officer Peter Hall at the Sanster International Airport highlighted plexiglass screens at counters, thermal screenings and hands-free equipment that will boost the capacity of frontline health workers.
On the Indian turf, the urge to get up and build a better and safer model to hold wedding celebrations is strong. The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), parent company to a chain of luxury hotels under the Taj, Vivanta, SeleQtions and Ginger Groups, has stated their plan of action. “The new experience which begins from the moment the guest puts foot in a hotel car until alighting from one on way back home, has been carefully thought through,” IHCL states.
IHCL is looking at ensuring a healthier environment with mandatory temperature checks, digitalised check-in and check-out formalities, and lobbies and elevators will be disinfected frequently. The food section will work on a single-use format, the elimination of the self-serving buffet, and proper distance amongst tables will be observed. All employees have been briefed about social distancing, be it the baggage handler, valet, guest relations, and so on.
They have stated: “IHCL and its brands–Taj, Vivanta, SeleQtion and Ginger–stand prepared to welcome guests back to experience the hallmark Tajness with the commitment re-strengthened.”
The JW Marriot chain too has devised a similar plan. They have stated: “A dedicated health champion will monitor and record cleaning schedules.” The hotel chain has identified high touch areas like doorknobs, remote controls, minibars, cutlery, telephones, and so on. The practice of namaste for greeting, along with the Aarogya Setu application is to be used to track the travel history and health of each person.
Covid-safe weddings will be all about following social distancing norms, and mask and hand hygiene, along with the joy of occasions that create everlasting memories of love.