Tourism likely to flourish post-Covid-19
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has said that India is uniquely placed to provide experiential tourism, which will be the hallmark of the post-Covid-19 era, considering the wealth of cultural diversity and heritage sites in the country.
Describing the crisis in the global tourism sector as temporary, he predicted that it will bounce back with a vengeance and flourish :because of the human desire to explore”.
“Post-Covid there will be a massive opportunity for India, once it builds seamless travel experience,” Kant said at the second HT Tourism Conclave.
“The world of tourism will move towards experiential and shorter trips. People will focus on unique experiences. India’s wealth of culture, heritage, archaeology and nature uniquely place it to provide such experiences for people to rediscover themselves.”
Kant added that tourism will move towards technology, which will be a driver and determinant of the success of many of the stakeholders in the sector.
“Technology will become a key player, as even now eight of the companies growing and expanding are technologically driven,” Kant said. “It will also be key dividing factor and a driver of growth. Tour operators and travel agents will have to adapt to a new business model to survive as people will depend more and more on mobile and digital mediums.”
The tourism ministry has cited Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) estimates to suggest that the loss of revenue to tourism can range between Rs 72,000 crore and Rs 1.58 lakh crores in 2020-21. The United Nations World Tourism Organization is predicting a fall within the range of $910 billion to $1 trillion in international tourism spending.
But Kant said he believes that the impact of the pandemic is temporary.
“The pandemic has only altered the progress, and the industry will need a phased recovery,” he said.
He added that the sector needs support, but will bounce back. Initially, Kant said, in the short to medium term, the focus has to be inward, and domestic tourism will be the first driver of recovery.
“This provides an opportunity to build great infrastructure and an inward-looking Incredible India 2.0 states,” Kant said.
“States can create top class products. Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka have an incredible tourism potential. As it is, the Udaan scheme offers connectivity to remote locations now, as the travel will shift from far away locales to less urban destinations closer to people’s homes,” he added.
According to Kant, the sector will bounce back. “The human spirit will conquer Covid-19,” he said.