The Travel & Tourism industry has been reeling from the impact of covid for the last eighteen months and is struggling to survive. We were starting to look up towards recovery in the last quarter of 2020-21. However, the first two months of the current financial quarter were bleak.
During these tough times FICCI Tourism Committee has been working relentlessly to engage with the industry players as well as the Ministry of Tourism and policy makers.
Domestic tourism is our focus for which we have been engaging with the states in an effort to bring synergy and making travel within the country as simple as possible. We are grateful to the Ministry of Tourism for announcing free tourists’ visas for up to 5 lakhs tourists. However, there should be no end date for this as has been proposed – till March 2022.
The ECLGS scheme has not has many takers because of the short timeline we request that there should be a four-year moratorium followed by four-year period for repayment. The one-time restructuring also needs to be reviewed. There is no way that we can reach pre-COVID ratios by March 2022 as the government has now extended this by 6 months and the repayment schedule from December 2022. The government may consider deferring it by two years, i.e., March 2024 and December 2024.
The UNWTO has reported that while tourism will begin to show upside in 2022 it will reach pre pandemic only 2024 or later. The above schemes were planned before the second wave we request the timeline be extended by two years.
In the long term, the travel tourism and hospitality sector should be part of the concurrent list and the industry is granted the infrastructure industry status so that we can avail of the benefits that other manufacturing and other industries get.
The author is Past President, FICCI & Chairperson, FICCI Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Committee & CMD, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group