Globally, Travel and Tourism is among the worst affected, of all economic sectors ,due to Corona virus pandemic.In the present scenario,UNWTO has estimated that International tourist arrivals ,all over the world could fall by 20-30% in 2020, resulting in decline in International tourism receipts by 300-450 billion USD.
Tourism sector in India is also obviously the hardest hit.The entire Travel & Tourism industry in the country is reeling under unprecedented crisis and an uncertain future.
As a Short term remedy ,the Industry requires urgent support and special package to manage the current crisis and mitigate the impact . Supporting job retention ,sustaining the self employed and assisting Tourism companies with working capital and liquidity are some of the urgent initiatives required to be taken.
As Medium term measure, the country needs to take steps to accelerate recovery of the Industry by review and relaxations in taxes, charges, levies and regulations ; ensuring integrated and coordinated partnerships between Govt and Pvt Sector and to create confidence in people of the country, about their health safety by establishing SOPs of health protocol for Industry players and for travellers, both domestic and international.
Post Corona crisis, as a long term strategy,India Tourism must become more resilient, by diversification of tourism and by embracing Sustainable and Responsible tourism in totality.
The first and foremost requirement of the Country today, however is to overcome the present health emergency.The country is indeed proud of its travel, tourism and hospitality industry which , in the last few days has come forward to offer their assets and infrastructure for air transport, for lodging the health staff and for Isolation wards/Quarantine. It is time that all national and state level travel and tourism associations, proactively offered their support to strengthen the Govt machinery.Needless to mention ,if India overcomes the Corona crisis relatively more successfully, we shall emerge as a ‘safer & healthier’ tourist destination in the world.
The Union Govt and State Govts are however expected to reciprocate with a bail -out package for the Industry, once the current crisis comes under control.Leading Industry Chambers,Tourism Federations and Associations have been voicing their concerns separately. It would be more apt and effective, if all the above organisations get together on one single national platform and present a ‘White Paper’ to the Govt, that would contain ‘Common issues, problems and demands’ cutting across all verticals of Travel and Tourism industry.This will make it easier for the Govt also to address the issues of the Industry in an integrated manner.
It is also suggested that Ministry of Tourism, may consider to constitute a ‘National Tourism Recovery Committee’ (as also advised by UNWTO in its latest communication), comprising representatives of Industry, other related Ministries and the State Govts.The proposed committee could deliberate on the issues and challenges faced by Tourism fraternity and evolve a comprehensive ‘Recovery package’ for the sector.
Travel and Tourism Sector is well known for its historic resilience. The tourism fraternity has overcome many crisis in the past too and has come back, stronger and more sustainable.In fact tourism has a proven capacity to bounce back and drive the recovery of other sectors.
India Tourism too will spring back and surely recover , sooner than later. But only if the entire nation strictly follows the advice ” Stay home today, for Travel tomorrow”, in letter and spirit.