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Afflicted by the pandemic: The industry of tourism

Afflicted by the pandemic: The industry of tourism

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As we continue to sail through the inflictions of the pandemic, we look back on days that have undoubtedly left a mark in our lives, superficial or profound. The chaos that fell upon humanity silenced the tourist attractions around the world and reduced tens of thousands of people, whose lives depended upon tourism, to tears. 

What exactly happened?

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS – COV) previously known as 2019 – n COV has challenged the global health scenario, affecting not only human health and welfare but also the political, social and economic conduct of numerous countries around the world. The SARS- COV 2 is highly communicable and spreads very rapidly. In a meeting on January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the disease as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern as it had spread to 192 countries. On March 11, 2020, WHO declared the COVID-19 a global pandemic.

Along with several other spheres of the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected the tourism industry around the world.  This is mainly due to the travel restrictions that were implemented in different countries. Travellers have also been less during this period because of the same. Major tourist attraction sites like museums, amusement parks, sports venues, historical structures, places of natural beauty have been closed down for an indefinite time.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization stated that global international tourist arrivals have potentially decreased by 58% to 78% in 2020, leading to a loss of 0.9 to 1.2 trillion US dollars in international tourism receipts. Planned travel went down by 80% to 90% in many prominent cities of the world. A 65% drop in international tourist arrivals was reported in the first 6 months of 2020 by the UNWTO.

The COVID-19 pandemic has handicapped the Indian travel and tourism industry as well. The entire sector will probably lose around Rs. 5 lakh crore or 65.57 billion dollars according to a study by industry chamber CII and hospitality consulting firm Hotelivate. Among these, the organized sector is likely to lose 2.5 billion dollars. In this atrocious crisis, all geographical segments like inbound, outbound, domestic; all tourism verticals like leisure, adventure, heritage, cruise, corporate and niche segments are affected. From October 2020 until the beginning of 2021, only 30% of hotels have been occupied. This has seen an 80 to 85% erosion in revenue. The estimated loss in hotels for both branded and unbranded segments in 2020 was 19.31 billion dollars. The loss for travel agents and tour operators was around 4.77 billion dollars.

 Like most other states, the pandemic has also severely impacted the tourism economy of northeast India, thereby obstructing the growth of the same. Being an abode of natural beauty and scenic pleasure, the tourism industry of the region and the local brands continue to bear the burden of the pandemic due to uncertainty and confusion among stakeholders. Although there were reports of places opening up in December 2020, the deadly second wave that sprawled across the country continues to plague the industry. Moreover, the lack of uniform protocol throughout the region also disrupted the seamless flow of tourists beginning this year.

However, with the improvement in the COVID-19 scenario and removal of travel restrictions and lockdowns, and increasing flow of tourists, the tourism industry will definitely get the much-needed boost.

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