It’s been nearly two years the Indian tourism has been bleeding due to the Covid-19 pandemic induced crisis, leave alone the economic meltdown that the country has been witnessing for an even longer period. What is the current status of the Indian tourism industry? How government is responding to it?
How long can an industry be in a ventilator? After 18 months of total rejection from all corners and zero business, Indian Tourism is gasping its last breath.
When the Nations across the globe adopted a strategy of managing covid along with sustaining lives and livelihood, India Inc has asked its people to manage their lives and livelihood themselves. Tourism, with the most professionally skilled manpower, how could a government turn its face-off from those entrepreneurs and employees? Absolutely no help came from any government except continuous loan announcements.
I could not stop laughing when Mr Kishen Reddy, Tourism Minister, said that there will be financial assistance to Tour Operators in the tune of INR One Million. Sir, it’s another loan which has to be paid back. How can it be called financial assistance!
Why the government doesn’t say when they are planning to reopen the borders for foreign tourists?
Every Big Heads in the Government including Hon. PM stated that India will complete vaccination by end of this year. Tourism Minister reinstated this statement last week again. But then why the government doesn’t say when they are planning to reopen the borders for foreign tourists? What stops them? Do they think that the tourists will just flow to India once it’s opened? Absolutely no! They need time to plan.
Our dear sirs and madams in the Ministry Of Tourism know very well how Inbound Tourism works. But they will not initiate any efforts to make the Minister understand the same because then these officers will have to start working. Who wants to unwantedly disturb their peace of mind in sitting idle on the pretext of Covid Pandemic!
Every other nation across the globe started opening up tourism in full swing. Indians can now travel to any part of the world if they are fully vaccinated. But as Indian Inc is a superpower, we will not allow tourists to come to our country. What a shame! If Tourism Minister has few moments to understand the breathless Tourism Industry, please come on a zoom meeting with the real stakeholders-I don’t mean the so-called National Association Heads who are just relaxing their retirement, but the real warriors in Tourism who knows the ground facts. Many are at the edge of leaving life, Sir. The ones who served our Industry with such a passion and commitment!
With great enthusiasm, the Ministry of Tourism announced Dekho Apna Desh and did so many zoom sessions and bla bla. Did anyone check the results? When the Central government brings a Govt Order saying all vaccinated Indians can travel hassle-free within any state of India, Karnataka says, their people should avoid travelling to Kerala until the end of October. Each State brings their own rules to keep travellers away from its enemy State. Is it a democracy? What is the role of Central Government, if any State can draw their lines of Control as they wish? India has become the Banana Republic.
The Indian Government should first understand the value of tourism in the country.
The Indian Government should first understand the value of tourism in the country. It’s not just a revenue-earning sector. It gives such huge employment which a government can’t even think of. Tourism is the face of any Nation to revisit our tradition and culture and show it to others across the globe. Tourism plays a major role in bringing sustainable values, biodiversity conservation and community empowerment.
If the Government doesn’t realise such factors of Tourism and take immediate steps to reopen the borders with visa resumption and International flights, Indian Tourism will be a history lesson for our children to boast that India had a Tourism which used to chant “ Adithi Devo Bhava”.
(George Scaria is the Managing Director of Keralavoyages India Pvt Ltd, a Travelife Certified Tour Operator.)
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