While discussing the revival strategies that can be adopted by the hoteliers, Sumeet Mehta (hotel valuations and finance specialist and the CEO of Paradigm Advisors) said that “Hospitality and Leisure Sector have faced the brunt of COVID-19 Lockdown with Summer Holiday Season totally washed out due to nationwide lockdown. Recovery in the sector is now visible as people have started stepping out and travelling. Hoteliers will have to focus on innovative marketing communications to created confidence in potential travellers that their properties are safe. Increased focus is required on cleanliness and sanitisation of properties to create confidence and evince interest. Premium properties that focused largely on MICE and corporate bookings will have to shift focus on individual travellers. Hoteliers will have to come up with attractive schemes and offers to pull guests and increase occupancy levels. Increased usage of technology and reduction in human interface to ensure safety along with a unique experience will ensure domestic travellers will be enticed to travel, thereby reviving hospitality and leisure sector.”
Rajkumar Sarrof, who owns the Pristine Travels private limited (a mid-sized Kolkata based IATA approved travel agency) gives insight into the problems being faced by the travel operators. As per Sarrof, the tour operators are a deeply divided lot, not just in size and scale, but also in terms of type of business, viz, groups, MICE, FIT, special interest, adventure tours, etc. Different segments have different ailments. The best general support can be to bring in a nodal agency, which can frame rules and announce them. Currently, rules are announced by different authorities, changes rapidly, and is very difficult to keep track of. Rules are in a complicated language and often interpretive, rather than made easy to understand. Support can be in the form of minimal interference, and by bringing in logical rules. Flight restrictions on certain days, keeping a resort open but most of its facilities closed, simply does not make sense….
Nitin Singh, the co-owner and Director of Royal Heritage Camps & Safaris, feels that while considering the revival of the tourism industry “the government should focus more on reforming policies for taxes, permissions, NOC, sanctions, and licenses; constructing more roads for better access especially for niche tourism destinations, and help in creating experiences and not merely sightseeing spots.”
While the revival of this industry must be made into a prime concern for the GOI, it is also essential that post COVID-19 the Indian tourism industry makes a move towards adopting a more sustainable, hygienic, and responsible form of tourism; the mantras being: hygiene, safety, health, quality, and value for money