With 185 countries affected, 3 million+ confirmed cases, and 217,000 deaths worldwide by COVID-19, the pandemic only seems to be getting worse across the world. Even though some of the countries like China and South Korea have overcome the crisis, a majority of countries still stand sealed and locked down with all the industries closed. Out of all the industries bearing the financial adversities of this pandemic, the travel industry worldwide has been hit the hardest and brought to its knees. And even though we all know that travel will resume sooner or later, it will never be the same- or at least not till a vaccine is available.

Adaptation Is Key

The changes in the travel industry, post-pandemic scenario are being predicted by studies and surveys being conducted all over the world. From these surveys, there seems to be a huge shift in the preferences of travellers and a dire need of guidelines and rules all over. For tourism boards to sustain in such times, they surely have to think differently and adapt to the situation. As an example of what needs to be done, the UN World Tourism Organization is providing resources, guidelines, and survey results to tour operators and boards to get through this time and prepare for the upcoming change.

A similar strategy has to be taken up by tourism boards in India as well to be prepared for the modifications in the industry. Taking measures like conducting surveys to measure the impact, job losses, and understand travellers’ preferences, setting guidelines for the future, and looking out for relief measures by the government for the tourism industry at this time will surely go a long way for the retrieval of business in tourism.

Credits: ForeignPolicy

Taking The Next Steps

Going by the examples of China and South Korea where tourism has been resumed at many places- the initial steps of recovery that are proven to work are:

  1. Survey conduction for understanding travellers’ preferences to detect upcoming trends and for calculating the magnitude of the impact caused on tour operators, hotels, etc., to plan out a strategy to recover;
  2. Creating standardized guidelines and rules for the industry to take appropriate precautionary measures and make travelling safe for all tourists;
  3. Launching aid programs, relief measures and subsidies for financial support to tour operators, travel service providers, etc.,
  4. Reducing the fee on entry tickets of monuments, wildlife safaris, etc.

The current scenario calls for immediate attention to the above steps- survey conduction, a revival of policies, setting new guidelines and launching aid programs as soon as the cases start dropping in a state. Prompt steps like these are what will ensure a quick and high rebound of tourism in the states and help in the retrieval of financial losses.

Credits: EurActiv

Government Aid To Relieve The Travel Industry

Out of these three measures, government aid is surely the quickest financial measure to help the industry recover. Several financial aids and subsidies have already been provided by the government of Australia, Scotland, Singapore, and many other countries to help their respective tourism industries. For instance, the economy secretary of Scotland announced a relief package of £2.2 billion for the tourism sector in Scotland to survive this difficult time and resume normalcy post lockdown. A similar effort is being taken by the European Union for Tourism in Sri Lanka by providing a EUR 3.5 million grant to support the tourism industry of Sri Lanka, especially the small operators and their employees. Singapore too has announced several financial aids and programs for the Singapore Tourism Board to enhance the training industry professionals in tourism by funding 90% of the course and trainer fees. Another program involves an enhanced Absentee Payroll support of 90% of the hourly basic salary provided to the workers getting sector-specific training in the tourism sector. Similar relief measures and financial aid are being sought in India for the tourism industry to survive and resume after the pandemic and to sustain, tour operators and service providers must surely keep an eye out for the same.

We’re Here For You!

We understand the impact of COVID-19 to your business and are thus dedicated to helping you out in these difficult times. If you have any questions regarding relief measures for your travel business in the COVID-19 scenario, please drop us an email at himani@thrillophilia.com