Coronavirus impact on tourism in India: While restrictions on travel and tourism were essential to ensure the health of the people of the country, it led to the loss of livelihood of numerous people associated with this industry.
Tourism sector in India: Travel and tourism sector in India set to get a financial boost! The coronavirus pandemic that struck the country in March last year hampered the tourism sector in India almost immediately as all kinds of domestic and international travel was restricted. While things started opening up in May, the lockdowns were placed on and off based on the active cases in the states, which led to a very slow recovery of the tourism industry. And it was just getting on the path to a better recovery, when the second wave struck and the industry was once again shut due to the states not allowing tourism of any sort in order to prevent COVID-19 spread. While restrictions on travel and tourism were essential to ensure the health of the people of the country, it led to the loss of livelihood of numerous people associated with this industry.
Now, in a positive development for the sector, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a scheme to support the sector financially. Announcing the Loan Guarantee Scheme for COVID Affected Sectors on Monday, she said that people in the tourism sector would be provided with personal or working capital loans to facilitate them in discharging their liabilities and restart their businesses that had otherwise been adversely affected due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the scheme, the government would cover 10,700 regional-level tourist guides who have been recognised by the Ministry of Tourism, and those Travel and Tourism Stakeholders (TTS) that have also been recognised by the Ministry of Tourism under the scheme.
As per the scheme, the stakeholders and guides would be provided loans with 100% guarantee, meaning that if the borrowers default on the repayment of the loan, the amount would be covered by the Centre. Loans up to Rs 10 lakh per agency for TTS would be provided under the scheme, while tourist guides licenced at the Regional or State level would be given a loan of up to Rs 1 lakh.
There would also be no processing charges or requirement of additional collateral on these loans, and any foreclosure or prepayment charges would also be waived off. The scheme would be administered by the Ministry of Tourism through the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company (NCGTC).
The announcement is likely to come as a relief to thousands of licenced tourist guides and recognised travel agencies, as the pandemic has left the entire tourism sector in the country gasping for breath.