HT Tourism Conclave: Strengthening post-Covid tourism in the spotlight

Sep 06, 2022 01:41 AM IST

The tourism sector faced a major setback in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic hit. International footfall fell to zero, while domestic tourism also remained restricted owing to lockdowns.

The fourth edition of the annual Hindustan Times Tourism Conclave will be held in the national capital today, with leaders and policymakers sharing their outlook on redefining the tourism ecosystem and engaging travellers in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The event will be inaugurated by Union tourism minister G Kishan Reddy. (PTI Photo/Arun Sharma)
The event will be inaugurated by Union tourism minister G Kishan Reddy. (PTI Photo/Arun Sharma)

The event will be inaugurated by Union tourism minister G Kishan Reddy.

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Discussions at the event are slated to centre on the theme ‘Re-thinking Tourism for The Future: Sustainability, Digital Transition & Greener Tourism System at Grassroots & Global Level.’ Prominent guests include tourism secretary Arvind Singh; chairman and MD of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), Rajni Hasija; CEO, Switzerland Tourism, Martin Nydeggar; and chairman and managing director, SpiceJet, Ajay Singh.

The tourism sector faced a major setback in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic hit. International footfall fell to zero, while domestic tourism also remained restricted owing to lockdowns.

The percentage contribution of the tourism sector to the GDP has averaged around 5% from 2015 to 2020, which fell drastically after the pandemic.

According to government data, international tourist arrivals in 2017 stood at 16.81 million and went up to 17.42 million in 2018 and 17.91 in 2019 before falling to 6.33 million in 2020 and 7 million in 2021.

In July 2021, the government also introduced incentives to kick-start the industry.

It provided financial support to more than 11,000 registered tourist guides/travel and tourism stakeholders.

“Under the new Loan Guarantee Scheme for Covid Affected Sectors, working capital/personal loans will be provided to people in tourism sector to discharge liabilities and restart after being impacted due to COVID-19,” the government had said in a statement then.

Also, after deciding to restart the process of issuing visas to international travellers, the government had announced that the first 500,000 tourist visas will be issued free of charge.

The ministry of home affairs also restored e-tourist visas for foreign nationals of 156 countries from 15th March, 2022.

On March 27, the government resumed scheduled commercial international passenger services to/from India.

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