Travel during Covid pandemic in India: In a glimmer of hope for the travel and tourism industry, the winter holiday season witnessed a favourable growth as more and more people gathered the courage to step out braving the ongoing Covid pandemic.
The beginning of 2021 looks promising as a healthy number of people from Tier 3 and Tier 3 cities in India planned their next vacation for the early part of this year. (Image - Uttarakhand Tourism Twitter)
The year 2020 was nothing short of a nightmare for us and travel and tourism sector bore the brunt of Covid Pandemic and lockdown. However, in a ray of hope, the undaunting spirit and indelible essence of people for the travel keep the tourism sector afloat against a high tide of losses. Meanwhile, the Narendra Modi government has taken an array of initiatives to provide thrust to the rich culture of tourism in India.
In a glimmer of hope for the travel and tourism industry, winter holiday season witnessed a favourable growth as more and more people gathered the courage to step out braving the ongoing Covid pandemic. In fact, the Travel industry started to bounce back slowly from October’s festive season and travellers then packed their bags for the year-end trips. The beginning of 2021 looks promising as a healthy number of people from Tier 3 and Tier 3 cities in India planned their next vacation for the early part of this year. While safety and hygiene remained the topmost focus for travellers, 2021 may prove to be the year of road trips. During the fag end of 2020, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, parts of Rajasthan, Goa, and Kerala became preferred tourist destinations for travellers in India.
At the beginning of 2020, when Covid did not hit India, Ministry of Tourism organized the “Bharat Parv” at the Gyan Path and Red Fort Ground, Delhi from January 26 to January 31, 2020, as a part of the Republic Day Celebrations. The theme of the Bharat Parv was ‘150 Years of Mahatma’ and ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’. With an aim to enhance the overall experience of tourists by creating a pool of local, trained professionals, the Ministry of Tourism has launched the Incredible India Tourist Facilitator (IITF) Certification Programme. Meanwhile, Incredible India Website was launched in Chinese, Arabic and Spanish languages to attract tourists from these regions, the Ministry of Tourism said in a statement.
The central government launched the ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ initiative in January 2020 with the objective of creating awareness among the citizens about the rich heritage and culture of the country and encourage citizens to travel within the country. To create mass awareness, the Ministry has also launched an online Dekho Apna Desh pledge and Quiz on the MyGov.in platform, the Ministry of Tourism said in the statement.
As Covid hit India forcing the suspension of international flights, the Ministry of Tourism set up a portal ‘Stranded in India’ in order to facilitate and extend support to foreign tourists who were stranded in the country on account of cancellation of flights and during the lockdown. The portal helped tourists get information and details of State and UT Tourism Departments and Regional Offices of the Ministry of Tourism.
In order to ensure adherence with the COVID-19 safety and hygiene protocol, the Central government undertook an initiative called System for Assessment, Awareness and Training for Hospitality Industry (SAATHI) in association with the Quality Council of India (QCI) for effective implementation of Guidelines or SOPs issued with reference to COVID-19 and beyond for safe operations of Hotels, Restaurants. As on date, 6810 accommodation units have been self-certified on the SAATHI portal, the Ministry of Tourism said in a statement.
Ministry of Tourism has been regularly working to promote the spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat through various activities even during the Covid-19 pandemic.
With Budget 2021 is less than a month away, the Tourism industry is seeking favourable announcements from Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. People associated with the travel industry are also eagerly waiting for the Covid-19 vaccination to begin as they claimed that immunisation against the highly contagious disease would encourage more people to step out and spend leisure times in favourite destinations.