The stretch of pandemic in 2020, has ruined many of our plans, amongst them lie few of my plans for vacation. Vacations! the thought itself refreshes me every time, but these days I do not feel elated when I come across this word i.e “Tourism”. Because this word reminds me of the travel industry which is among the most hit industries due to COVID – 19. At this time all of us around the world are living with travel restrictions. The Covid-19 pandemic has actually brought travel and tourism to a complete standstill. The global tourism, which accounts for approx 10% of the global GDP has come down to almost zero level. Given the wide-spread restrictions on travel globally, World Tourism Organization, in its latest evaluation passed a statement that, “Taking into account past market trends, this COVID period, would mean that between five and seven years’ worth of growth will be lost. India too is no exception to it. The past trend of tourism in India shows that approx. 9.2% of India’s GDP and 26.7 million jobs were provided by tourism industry in 2018. This industry not only employs workers in cities but also provides an earning base for the rural population and unorganized sector. Over 87 million people were employed in the travel sector in 2018-19 in India, according to the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) annual report for 2019-20. It is estimated that in India, branded and organized hotels annual revenue is ?38,000 crore ($5 billion) while the restaurant industry in India, has an annual turnover of approx. ?4 lakh crore ($53 billion). This industry provides direct employment to more than 7 million people.
Now let us have a look at the Projected Effects of COVID 19 on Travel & Tourism in India:
- Indian tourism and hospitality industry is witnessing a potential job loss of around 38 million. Impact of Covid-19 is directly hitting both white and blue collar jobs.
- In March itself, the hotel sector saw a decline of more than 65% in occupancy rate compared to 2019. India’s outbound and inbound travel is witnessing an all time low.
- With international and domestic travel on halt, demand for turbine fuel has also substantially declined.
- Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) estimates the hotel, aviation and travel sector together may suffer a loss of about ?85 billion keeping in mind the travel restrictions imposed on foreign tourists.
- Aviation industry in India has incurred a losses worth ? 27,000 crore ($3.3-3.6 billion) in the first quarter of 2020-21.
- The passenger growth of airlines is likely to fall sharply to a negative 20-25% growth for the 2020-21.
- The restaurant industry in India has experienced almost zero revenue in the first quarter, and a drop of 50% in the months to come.
While Covid-19 is set to be a big blow for many including travel & tourism industry, innovation is the key, with the industry learning to find its way in the new normal.