As the COVID crisis has raised it’s fangs all over the world, different sectors of economy, have started facing survival issues. The stakeholders have been compelled to resort to brainstorming trying to to evolve strategies for revival and survival in Post COVID world.
Amongst the blooming sectors of economy which had to bear the COVID impact the biggest sufferer has been the Tourism industry.
In age of social distancing and contactless deliveries, people even in remote places have been confined to securities of respective homes and major tourism related places and streets present deserted looks .The Tourism industry has been in forefront of sufferings and declining incomes.
Tourist traffic has been severely restricted due to COVID outbreak as multiple restrictions came into place on movement of people within cities as well outside. Within City the business of all kind of operators whether artisans and transporters or hoteliers connected with tourism is dented by distancing restrictions and diminishing travel facilities. Movement of population from one end to another end within the country or outside the country has also been further adversely impacted by continuous increase in fuel prices which has become a compulsive revenue generation option for Govts. of the day in order to fill up the breach in financial resources created by COVID related expenditure.
Recently while searching the net for tourism related material I came across a video on a virtual meet of Ex Tourism Secretaries namely S/Sh. SK Mishra Chairman ITHRD, MP Bezbaruah and Vinod Zutshi all distinguished ex Civil Servants. who have been connected to Tourism in senior positions.It can be viewed on you tube at link given (https://youtu.be/iEKI_QOK8Gk).
It came out that the meet was hosted by an organisation called Total Synergy and Consultants Ltd. (TSCPL). The meet organised by M/s TSCPL offered an enlightening discussion which could come out with useful conclusions on issues and challenges with reference to some major Tourism hotspots in the Country.It was felt that for planning for future there will have to be a dynamic and flexible approach if we want to give a new life with added survival strength to the Tourism industry.
An important strategic change which emerged concerns promotion of tourism based on cluster approach. This would mean covering all nearby tourism related facilities connected with an important tourist place in a particular area. The authorities would have to interlink the spots and major attractions. The transport and stay arrangements , even upto level of guides can be managed by a common agency.This will have added benefit for promotion of cottage industries and the ancillaries for overall promotion of tourism.
It can be expected that such an approach will empower even the smaller players in the field. Connectivity and synergising through all stake holders would act as a comprehensive cover against short term setbacks. This will insulate the industry against similar suffering related to short term ups and downs.With the increased connectivity and sharing of resources the industry would be insulated from shocks which are now becoming more frequent due to globalisation of our economies .
At this juncture the need of the day is to devise a long term plan for good of the Tourism Industry and stay confident about future.The Industry has weathered many such storms at the times of war, pandemic and natural calamities.
Having once worked in Andaman & Nicobar Islands I can recall experience of Andaman & Nicobar Islands after Tsunami (in 2004). The Islands a treasure house of unique bio diversity offered captivating exposure to natural beauty for the visiting tourists.
However the scenario was completely changed after the Tsunami struck in December 2003.The tourist were hastily collected and packed off in first available flights . There was massive damage to Power houses, Communication networks and habitations.For some days everything appeared to have been lost.
At one stage after Tsunami the Tourism Industry in Andamans appeared to have totally collapsed.The visitors avoided the Islands for fear of repeat Tsunami. But such feeling got dissipated later.The repair to Jetties and docks was taken up on war footing.Normal flights resumed very soon.
The subsequent relief and reconstruction activities had also exposed the Islands to the entire world.The increased footfalls acted as catalysts for publicity.Numerous new projects came up later for growth of Tourism.It was not long before normal activities resumed.The Islands now have a flourishing tourism industry and has advanced to higher levels with introduction of new world class facilities and infrastructure for inter island tourists.
Taking lessons from Andamans we may wish good luck to one and all and to the Tourists And Operators, wishing for speedy recovery .
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