DMPQ- Discuss the challenges Indian tourism sector is facing in the wake of pandemic. Also explain how this presents an opportunity for India to boost it’s tourism sector.

Over the last 20 years, the world has faced many global adversities — the dot-com bubble, the 9/11 attack, the 2008 financial meltdown, among others. Covid-19 is another disruption caused by a macro-event, but its intensity is far more severe. Like all challenging situations, this pandemic-induced crisis has also presented us with an opportunity to recalibrate the tourism potential. But this needs political will, the entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector, and investment support.

Significance of Tourism Sector

Income and Employment: In 2020, the Indian tourism sector accounted for 31.8 million jobs, which was 7.3% of the total employment in the country.

Service Sector: It gives a push to the service sector. A large number of businesses engaged in the service sector such as airlines, hotels, surface transportation, etc. grows with the growth of the tourism industry. Foreign Travelers help India in getting net Foreign Exchange.

Future of India’s tourism sector

  • A Robust Transportation Network: Travel and tourism heavily depend on a robust transportation network operated on-road, railways, and air. € There is still a lot of ground to cover to improve last-mile connectivity. In the railways, the traffic has been stagnant.
  • On air travel, focus on solving for better connectivity, especially for less explored tourism in the Northeast. Currently, less than 50% of the total routes under the UDAN scheme are operational.
  • Upgrading the Capacity of Infrastructure: There is a pressing need to upgrade capacity at top tourist locations.. India’s top travel destinations are crumbling due to the high influx of tourists and poor infrastructural support.
  • Exploring the unexplored: We also need to create awareness of numerous undiscovered places in India. The tourism ministry has made a strong push with ‘Dekho Apna Desh Campaign’, but the government and private sector can collaborate towards the development of campaigns that will promote domestic travel in line with evolving travel preferences.
  • Incentives and concessions: With a belief that the travel and tourism sector will continue to contribute significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment generation, as was done in the past, it is an opportune moment for timely push with concessions and incentivisation to grow domestic tourism.
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