The tourism sector is one of the most impacted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The government’s steps to revive the tourism industry in India is not enough yet.
Two years of hard suffering could not pull me back from tourism. As usual, we trusted our governments and still we hope they will step in. Unfortunately in India, nobody has the guts to meet the PM to convince him that the tourism industry has a serious problem that needs his intervention.
I have a clear reason behind my thoughts above. The other day our Honourable Tourism Minister Reddy came out with the common political bla bla on what the government did for tourism during the pandemic. Remarkable indeed!
In a statement in the Parliament, Hon Minister said, they have conducted a detailed study and found that 21.5 Million jobs are lost during three Covid waves, tourist arrivals in the country were down by 93% during the first wave,79% during the second wave and 69% during the third wave. Minister says there were 38 million people engaged in tourism before the Pandemic, though the trade says it’s 55 Million. Here I wish to go with the Hon. Minister! Out of 38 million, 21.5 million lost their jobs! Almost 55% of the human resources in tourism lost their jobs. And what are we waiting for?
The survey from the Ministry was out a few months ago and Hon. Minister is presenting the figures a second time in Parliament. Not sure how many more times they will present the same figures in many forums. Sir, what have you done to overcome this crisis! First of all, is it a crisis?
Minister stated three points further.
- He asked the States to give industry status to tourism and give support to tourism enterprises accordingly to tide over the crisis created by the Pandemic. He knows very well that most of the States will not do anything on this! So just bla bla!
- He said the Central Government has arranged many loans to the stakeholders to manage the cash flow. Few got some loans and were not full as the government announced. Bankers played their nasty games and nobody questioned. And others did not get anything and no associations came forward to cry for them. Another bla bla!
- He said that Tourism Ministry announced a special working capital loan to the tune of Rs 10 Lakhs to the Accredited Tour Operators in the country. The biggest BLA BLA! Thanks to the smartest guidelines for the disbursement of this loan, no Tour Operator will get the loan, if he has availed any other loans during the pandemic. So banks are happy that they don’t need to disburse this loan to any tour operator, though they have been provided with a big list of accredited tour operators in the country.
So what is the stake of the tourism industry in India? Shouldn’t the industry meet the Honourable Prime Minister and convince him that we have a real crisis? I will be the last one to complain that the government is incapable of doing something until we bring the issue to the Head of Our Nation. Because tourism is a major contributor to the exchequer, forex and employment.
The association leaders think that if we bring our crisis in the form of a representation to the government, we are going against the government. The biggest mistake!
A responsible government will only be happy to understand a real problem to think about how they can help us. I challenge any single trade association or its leaders to rise to the occasion and act if you are genuine to the Industry as a whole. If you don’t do this, it means, you are petty selfish cowards whose names will not be remembered ever!
If we let go of our human resources in tourism now, we will lose our game forever. Because the so-called Royal Indian hospitality was delivered by our amazing service professionals. Please don’t let them go! If the government give a slight push from our back now, we will all rise again and perform better. Otherwise, many of us will fall into a deep ditch to rise never again!
(George Scaria is the Managing Director of Keralavoyages India Pvt Ltd, a Travelife Certified Tour Operator.)
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