India receives more than 10 million foreign tourists every year. And, India earns around 20 to 30 billion USD from the tourism sector. But, the lockdown had shaken the economy, hitting different economic industries adversely. As the tourist movement ceased within India, it impacted several sectors such as tourism, hospitality, aviation, railways, and transportation. Almost all businesses came to a standstill except for the online businesses.
Indian Tourism: Survive, Revive and Thrive
To counter the biggest challenge of Covid-19, the government and industry stakeholders came up with a new initiative – Survive, Revive and Thrive. The SURVIVE phase will focus on the twin challenge of saving businesses and jobs. The government must help small businesses access working capital, deferment of loan repayments, and underwrite the parts of the Loan. This phase would include incentivising domestic travel to retain high-spending travelers by ensuring robust health and hygiene measures.
Then comes the REVIVE phase, which entails the easing of international travel restrictions. It will also give birth to the immense competition among the different countries that will be ready to cash in the opportunity. And, the Indian tourism department would need robust and innovative initiatives to change the tourism mechanism. The department must spearhead and market the various possibilities of tourism in India, making it more attractive to foreign travelers. They should spearhead campaigns and conduct global seminars and conferences to send a strong message to their counterparts that India is safe for travel.
The THRIVE phase is a long-term measure of the government to adopt the fundamental change in the tourism sector for years to come. There is a constant need for responsible tourism, and tour operators must play a significant role in driving sustainable and environment-friendly tourism. The government will promote environmental tourism advising zero carbon, zero waste, reducing economic costs, and a higher level of hygiene. The phase will allow the sector to hit the reset button and curate a long-term tourist experience.
Indian Tourism: Government support and measures
According to the recent series of announcements by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, India will provide free visas to 5 lakh foreign tourists to India, which would be worth INR 100 crore. Her statements are primarily targeted towards reviving the tourism sector, which was affected by the Covid-19. She has also assured financial support to more than 11,000 registered tourist guides, tour, and travel stakeholders. The current scheme is applicable until March 31, 2022, or until 5 lakh visas are granted.Coming to financial support, the central government aims to drive working capital or personal loans to people associated with the tourism sector. This initiative will allow them to remove liabilities and resume businesses that were impacted due to Covid-19. With a 100 per cent guarantee on Loan, the tour and travel stakeholders will receive up to ₹10 lakh and ₹ 1 lakh for registered tourist guides. Additionally, INR 23,220 crore will be spent on public health services. The healthcare services plan an essential role in channeling the tourism and hospitality domain.
These government relief packages and measures have become a basic necessity for the people who struggled throughout the pandemic. And, these initiatives will spearhead the motto of Survive, Revive and Thrive.
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