Travel & Tourism Sector
According to a CII report, the Covid-19 outbreak is among the worst crises that has hit the Indian tourism industry, impacting all its geographical segments simultaneously for an estimated Rs 5 lakh loss. Given the sector is a significant contributor to the country’s GDP, Leaders of Tomorrow’s eForum featured a conversation with Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of Tourism – GOI, Madhavan Menon, CMD – Thomas Cook, Ritu Mehrotra, Country Manager – Booking.com & Amanpreet Singh Bajaj, Country Manager – Airbnb, to discuss the way ahead of the beleaguered sector.
Hinting at the government’s short-term and long-term revival strategy for the sector, the Minister of Tourism said, “The top priority is reviving domestic tourism. We’ll see a dramatic increase in footfall of foreign tourists closer to 2024.” He also shed more like the initiatives undertaken by the government by clarifying, “The first focus will involve integrating the state govt and Ministry of Tourism sites. Secondly, the government will soon open 821 monuments which include temples, mosques and churches. Thirdly, we are in talks to open museum and libraries, and last but not least, we are drafting separate advisories for individual monuments”.
In an attempt to combat the crippling blow the pandemic has dealt to the Indian travel and tourism industry the Minister further made clear, “The govt has extended its relief measures for MSMEs in the tourism sector from 3 months to 6 months in duration.
Further commenting on the state of the industry, Ritu Mehrotra of Booking.com said, “While, people aren’t necessarily comfortable travelling internationally, there is steady growth in the domestic travel business. There is a rising demand for staycations.” Amanpreet Singh Bajaj of Airbnb predicted, “The industry will witness a growing demand for personalised holiday experiences. Millennials will be the first to opt for unique travel experiences. People will be more conscious about sustainable travel.” Madhavan Menon of Thomas Cook concluded, “It is going to take several quarters to return to pre-covid normalcy. However, travel transactions going forward can and will be done in a contact-less manner thanks to digital penetration.”