These are unprecedented times and the government must have a bounce-back plan.
Photo by Shekhar Ghosh
Travel bans, visa restrictions and general paranoia have meant that the travel and tourism industry has taken the most direct hit from the COVID-19 outbreak. The CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) says this is one of the worst crises ever to hit Indian tourism.
Big chains, like ITC and Indian Hotels, have sent out e-mails with revised cancellation policies; offering flexibility in reservations and details on heightened hygiene protocols.
Arjun Sharma, the owner of hotels and the iconic Select City Walk mall in New Delhi, has been working with the CII and other industry stakeholders to put together a plan to present to the government. These are unprecedented times and the government has to have a bounce-back plan. The recommendations will likely seek a direct package for salaries; a rollover of loans so they don’t become NPAs; and an excise waiver.
Economic slowdown had already shrunk the travel budgets of domestic tourists, the December holiday season took an estimated 40-50% hit.
The holiday season of April-July likely to be a wipeout.
China is a big tourism market for India; travel restriction from China was the first blow.
Visa restrictions have led to an estimated 80% cancellation across hotels in March.