Of course you don't need over 200 words of content to rank well. As I have already said, there is no 'magic' number for a word count. When launching a new website however, and in such a competitive industry, page content is one of the best, cheapest and quickest ways of building rankings. You can rank a website with no content at all, but you'll need a sizable budget to do this. The question was about the homepage of a new website within the travel industry, so no, 200 words is not enough (unless the OP has one sizable budget but, if did, he'd have hired an SEO company rather than ask on a forum).
Your first comment to me contained the condescending remark “As those of us who actively work writing content for the web know, things have changed over the last couple of years”. This was clearly a remark meant to imply that you work in content and I don’t. If you open up with the “I’m an expert and you’re not” gambit, you should prepare to have it called.
I have no issue with you challenging what I have said, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I do take issue however with you insinuating that your opinion is worth more than mine because you ‘actively work in writing…’ and I don’t. Our company provides thousands of pages of content each month for companies around the world, many within the travel industry, so I am familiar with the concept of content and SEO.
As I say, feel free to disagree with me. I have no problem with that. Just don’t assume my expertise is lacking because I am new here.