Bhubaneswar: Experts in Hospitality and Tourism Sector feel that Domestic Tourism will be saving the Tourism Industry, which faced critical situation due to COVID-19 Pandemic.
Top Notch Hotelier, Souvagya Mohapatra, Chair, FICCI Eastern Region Tourism Committee & Managing Director (India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan), Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts strongly feels that Domestic Tourism will drive the Revival of the Tourism Sector.
Mr.Mohapatra speaking in the Valedictory session of the Second Travel, Tourism & Hospitality e-Conclave: Resilience & The Road to Recovery, organized by FICCI, said that the tourism, travel, and hospitality industry was the first to suffer and probably, will be the last to recover.
He said that Tourism Industry, known for its remarkable resilience, will rise to the occasion and come out of this crisis.
Tourism and hospitality has always been a self-sustaining sector. However, assistance from the government is the need of the hour.
Domestic tourism will drive the revival and the growth of tourism in our country. Seamless movement between states will help restart tourism. It is also important for states to create sustainable tourism and streamline the carrying capacity of destinations to preserve the local ecosystem,” he noted.
Satpal Maharaj, Minister Tourism , Culture and Irrigation of Government of Uttarakhand, Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi Minister Tourism, Culture and Vasanbhai Ahir, Minister Tourism Gujarat Government graced the occasion.
Mr.Maharaj said Uttarakhand Government has extended various fiscal and monetary assistance to the tourism sector and has taken several steps to aid the sector. A package of INR 200 crore has been arranged for COVID-affected service providers like adventure tour operators, and river guides, among others.
Mr Panigrahi, Minister of Tourism, Government of Odisha, said that the state will be the flag bearer of sports tourism in India. “While the sector reels under the effects of COVID-19, we have been doing the background work needed to elevate the state’s tourist destinations. Puri is the first city in the country to boast of direct tap drinking water. We are now trying to replicate the same in other tourist destinations as well,” he said.
Further, Mr Panigrahi said that while the state government for the development of religious tourist destinations had sanctioned INR 200 and 350 crores in 2019 and 2020 respectively, this year encompassing all religious projects, the Govt of Odisha has sanctioned a budget of INR 1,500 crores to make religious destinations ready post-COVID.
“Even though international travel has taken a backseat, domestic travel and tourism is slowly on the rise. The projects that we are taking up currently will help the tourism sector in a positive way. We are trying to further make the sector future-proof while improving the livelihood of local communities. We have drafted the Odisha Tourism Development Facilitation and Regulation Bill that will empower the govt to register service providers, regulate activities in tourist areas, facilitate bonafide investment proposals and ensure tourist safety against malpractices,” he said.
Vasanbhai Ahir, Tourism Minister of State, Government of Gujarat said that tourists coming to the state in 2019-2020 had crossed the seven-crore mark. “The Government of Gujarat has sanctioned INR 100 cr in developing the Shivrajpur beach, near Dwarika. Similarly, INR 50 cr had been sanctioned for the development and upkeep of the Junagadh Fort, the work for which has already begun. Gujarat boasts of Asia’s longest ropeway and is the only place in the world that boasts of a white desert,” he said.
Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI said although COVID had undoubtedly resulted in a setback of the travel and hospitality sector, it has also given us an opportunity to rethink how we can reinvent the sector and make ourselves future-ready in more resilient ways. “In the short run, domestic tourism will help restart the industry. The partnerships between the Centre and states, and state and state are going to be key to achieving this goal,” he said.