How covid affect India's economic engine 'Tourism Sector'

NewsBharati    31-Dec-2020   
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After several substandard happenings in 2020, coming is the year 2021, that tends to give people a chance to celebrate, enjoy and party hard! People plan to celebrate year-end with their loved ones this time as usual but in a 'new normal way'. Instead of grand styling, they are seen opting for home celebrations or short getaways. No travels, no destinations, no elevated galas. Huhh! All thanks to the pandemic! And is the probable reason for decline of the tourism industry.

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The sector has experienced a crippling effect with the nationwide lockdown announced in late March coinciding with the peak tourism season kick-starting from early April onward. The travel and tourism sector, which is widely known as an economical engine, of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) now stands still due to the pandemic. The China oriented virus has nearly paralyzed this economic engine (tourism sector) like never before. Unlike other sectors, tourism will take longer to recover especially leisure tourism. The sector is facing many obstacles for its survival. Many believe this crisis is a greater threat than the earlier ones such as the financial meltdown of 2008-09.
India is home to 38 UNESCO World Heritage sites. With this, it is one of the favorite preferred destinations to travel for both domestic and overseas travelers. As mentioned above, the tourism sector makes a significant impact on the economy of our country. According to the data of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the tourism sector is one of the largest industries and accounts for 6.23 percent of the country's GDP and provides employment to 8.78 percent of the population. It managed to generate around 275.5 billion dollars in revenue in fiscal 2018 with an annual growth rate of 9.4 percent. Nearly 1.4 billion domestic tourists travel across the country on an average in a year.
States like Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Sikkim, and other northeastern states which mainly dependent extensively on tourism as a source of state revenue are facing more economic problems than any other states. Covid has forced some states like Gujrat, Goa to canceled and postponed their prominent festival like sunburn, Rann Mahotsav which usually helps the state to attract more tourists.
According to the reports, the Indian travel and tourism sector and the entire value chain linked to the sector are likely to lose around Rs 5 lakh crore or $65.57 billion. This will affect our GDP. As this sector’s recovery is key for the economic revival the tourism industry in India requires a lot of push for its survival.
The loss to the tourism sector cannot be ascertained at this time as the pandemic is still underway. However, once the situation created by COVID-19 gets normal, the tourism sector will be the first one to see major growth. But right now, domestic tourism is the way to revive the tourism sector this will give strength to the sector.
Meanwhile, the government is making serious efforts to boost investment in the tourism sector. The government is encouraging domestic travel through initiatives like Dekho Apna Desh and ‘Incredible India’, which in turn, will provide some respite to the sector. Besides, the government has identified 17 sites across the country to develop them as iconic tourist sites, which will serve as a model for other tourist destinations.