COVID pandemic to destroy India’s tourism industry

Jaipur, India — The travel and tourism industry in the world’s second most populous country is at stake.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the industry, which accounts for about 9% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP).

India’s GDP According to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), a non-governmental industry and advocate group, the estimated amount for 2020 was $ 2.66 trillion.

“This is one of the worst crises in history that has hit India’s tourism industry, affecting inbound, outbound and all geographic segments of the country. Almost all tourism areas: leisure, adventure. , Heritage, conferences, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, cruises, companies and niches segments, “says CII.

Epoch Times Photo
On September 17, 2018, people are rowing on Dal Lake near the city of Srinagar in Kashmir, India. (John Fredericks / Epoch Times)

In the report, the coalition stated that the slowdown, primarily due to the imposition of the Covid-19 blockade, was initially expected to affect revenue streams by October 2021.

Omicron’s arrival changed those expectations by allowing visitors to cancel their reservations.

The hotel, which reported good days after the second wave of COVID-19 ended in late June, has begun to lean again for a new variant.

Occupancy rates average around 40-50%, with the worst blows being small or low budget hotels.

A coalition report states that the entire travel and tourism value chain could lose about $ 65.57 billion, and the organizational sector alone could lose $ 25 billion.

The numbers are very disturbing, he said, and the industry needs urgent steps to survive.

In India, the tourist season is mainly from October to the end of March, which has been the worst hit for the past two years.

Inbound tourism is almost zero and the industry has survived more or less domestic tourism, but is now heavily influenced by Omicron.

Sanjay Kaushik, director of travel agency Rajputana Holiday Makers, said: Suddenly, a pandemic broke out, everything stopped, it stopped, and the industry was hit hard. “

Many tourists, including guides, taxi drivers, tour operators, hotel owners, and even tourists, have lost their jobs due to the closure of thousands of restaurants and hotels, Kausik said. ..

The tourism sector provides direct and indirect employment to approximately 44 million people. Due to the coronavirus pandemic blockade, the sector expects unemployment of about 30% to 40% of the total workforce.

“Tourism fraternity was anxiously waiting, hoping for some sort of relief from the government, but so far nothing has happened,” Kausik said.

“In short, it was a very tough time for the industry. Until December … the hotel began to report good occupancy thanks to domestic tourists, then Omicron came in and started to cancel, now with the first wave of Covid. The situation was almost the same as in the second wave, so there was a light of hope. ”Kausik was added.

Indian spice market
Members of the Overseas Adventure Travel Tour Group visit the Indian Spice Market. (Provided by Grand Circle Corp)

However, Himmat Anand, founder of the Tree of Life Resorts and Hotels, disagreed, saying that the past two years have different implications for different areas of hospitality and tourism.

Tree of Life Resorts and Hotels is a city-based chain across India.

“For hotels in big cities, that would mean the time spent to survive. Their highly advertised selling point of being in the city center with a large banquet hall has been shunned by travelers. rice field.

“Business wasn’t bad for a resort with a limited number of rooms, low overhead costs, large open spaces, and a bit far from the city center.”

“And on all of this domestic trip to India, it has emerged as a knight in shining armor. This segment has always been the backbone of India’s travel and, of course, just not recognized.”

“In the final count, about 900 million Indians travel the country each year.

“Yes, most of this is a very low-budget religious trip, visiting friends and relatives, but even 20% of the middle-class and above travelers are close to 200 million. I’m watching a wealthy traveler.

“Compare this to the arrival of 12 million foreign tourists, which India claims to win each year. It’s not difficult to understand where the focus should be,” he said. ..

Covid-19 has regained its focus, Anand added.

It sounds optimistic, but “I believe that without the fourth wave, domestic travel will be fully recovered by early March.”

Medical tourism is another sector influenced by Covid-19.

Dr. Balwantosin, Vice Chairman of the Darwin Platform Group and Head of Darwin Platform Pharmaceuticals, said: Package, tax incentives. The government also needs to respond quickly to the proposed national strategy for medical tourism. “

The current $ 5 billion to $ 6 billion medical value travel was expected to grow to $ 13 billion by 2022, with proper policy promotion. But with Covid-19 around, it now seems difficult, Shin said.

India mainly accepts most of the medical tourists from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Oman, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nigeria, Kenya and Iraq. It has great potential to attract medical tourists from other parts of the world, including Europe and the Americas.

Mr Singh said the government needs to allow a bilateral travel bubble with countries where India is gaining tourists seeking medical assistance.

Anil Sharma