The unprecedented COVID-19 induced crisis has led to a shutdown of the Travel & Tourism industry and has placed significant pressures on the entire economy. CII estimates suggest that the entire value chain linked to T&T is likely to lose around 5 lakh crore or US$65.57 billion, with job losses reaching 2 crores in the sector The coronavirus puts a furrow on the Indian tourism industry as domestic and international travel plans are shrouded with a veil of uncertainty. In this growing time of uncertainty, it is imperative that we model a new-normal for the tourism industry. . A model needs to be fabricated that inculcates multiple dimensions of the proposed new-normal, with the revival of the sector at the forefront of the efforts of industry and government.
CII Annual Tourism Summit, held between the 16-17 December, provides the necessary platform for all the stakeholders in the industry to converge, and help create a blueprint for the post COVID-19 world. We have curated sessions that will refurbish certain locations while creating a best practises model that can be followed to help India stimulate its domestic tourism while envisioning a future that will help drastically increase our international tourist footfall and put India back on the map.
Addressing the inaugural session of the CII Annual Tourism Summit, Dr. Pramod Sawant, Hon’ble Chief Minister, Government of Goa highlighted that Goa has launched a new state tourism policy which will help the government push the systematic development of the sector. This policy has been framed to offer the unique Goan experience to the visitors by presenting a mix of holistic, natural and cultural locations and attractions. This policy will be the backbone for crucial decision of planning, development and marketing. Goa is also working on creating a robust system where small hospitality players can be brough under a single portal to help boost ease of doing business
Mr. Aaditya Thackeray, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism, Environment & Climate Change & Protocol, Government of Maharashtra speaking on Maharashtra’s tourism potential highlighted that during this COVID period, we have given the hospitality sector the status of being an industry, which would be applicable from the 1st of April. We have also brought EODB facilitation, as we started with 70 application forms, 70 odd licenses and 15 NOCs. Now we have brought down application forms from 70 to 8, licenses from 70 to 10 and 15 NOCs to 9 self-certification which is in effect from now.
The worst period is over, COVID cases are coming down and there is a ray of hope that tourism should start stated Ms. Meenakshi Sharma, Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. Ministry of Tourism has already started conversations with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs on how to open up international tourism. We are in the process of having an insurance product that will provide more confidence to the international travellers. To help the industry, we revised our schemes on the marketing development assistance and are willing to take up part of the tab of promotion.
Mr. Darpan Jain, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry expressed that 1000 crores worth of programs have been earmarked and approve for tourism and medical value travel under the champion services sector scheme. We need to focus on wellness travel as India has strengths in Ayurveda and Yoga and need to develop world class facilities. To improve international tourist footfall, can we work on a national strategy that is bottom up and let us tie up on issues related to promotion, facilitation, infrastructure and skilling.
All of us as society need to come together to frame policies for the short term, mid-term and long-term policies in a manner which helps revive and then restore the travel and tourism industry stated Ms Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. There has been a lot of demand for the need to harmonize, the decision to administer and decide what is the harmonization at the pan-India level has to be at the state government level.
(Continued in part 2)