Tourism was one of the first sectors to be deeply impacted by the pandemic, as measures introduced to contain the virus led to a near-complete cessation of tourism activities around the world.
By Sangita Bora
The Covid-19 crisis has hit the tourism economy hard, with unprecedented effects on jobs and businesses. Tourism was one of the first sectors to be deeply impacted by the pandemic, as measures introduced to contain the virus led to a near-complete cessation of tourism activities around the world. This had consequences beyond the tourism economy, with the many other sectors that support, and are supported by tourism also significantly impacted. For many players in this industry, navigating the pandemic has been like sailing into a hurricane. Tourism-dependent countries will likely feel the negative impacts of the crisis for much longer than other economies.
As we move into the final quarter of the calendar year, one can probably say, without doubt, that we are indeed in a better place than we were last year. With a record breaking number of vaccine shots administered to the population of the country, and a state of normalcy is right around the corner, people are slowly coming out of their homes after being forced to remain indoors for a long time; albeit for their own safety. It is interesting to note that one of plus sides to this trend is the increasing demand of the tourism and hospitality sector, which was also the most affected by the pandemic. Travelling or physically experiencing travel is one of the few areas that cannot be switched to online; the nostalgia of those good old travel days still lingers around people. Although people are still afraid to go to places where they might encounter an uncontrollable crowd, many of the off- beat attractions have come into demand.
We know that pent-up demand is growing faster by the day and revenge travel is on the horizon. That is why it did not surprise us when a certain national highway saw major unprecedented traffic and midway hold up within hours after its Government introduced relaxation to the lockdown restrictions. Many of these places have successfully provided their services to the tourists by following proper safety and precautionary measures and worked as proof of concept for a post covid world without travel and tourism restrictions. People are now more cognizant of the absolute necessity of hygiene and personal spaces than ever before and believe that these norms should be maintained irrespective of whether we are in a pandemic or not!
Travelling is innate to humans and having spent time indoors people are yearning to connect, explore and travel more than ever before. People have now started to look towards the tourism and hospitality sector to destress their tormented minds and the situation in Himachal a few months ago, which saw an influx of tourists flooding the streets blocking the highways have shed light on how much the people are ready to risk, to just get out of their homes. As much as music and TV has helped us remain sane during the lockdown, the human mind needs more. It needs to be nourished and pampered as much as your physical self and nothing in this world can bring peace to your mind than a well needed trip to your favorite destination. Your actions, followed by strict safety and precautionary measures can not only help replenish your mind and soul, but also provide income and livelihood to many local businesses that were shut down without warning. If you still don’t find that inner calling to travel, you don’t know what you are missing until you take that trip; be it alone or with your loved ones.
We must remember that we are going through some of the most difficult times humanity has seen. It is imperative that we make a conscious effort to ignore the negativity around us and focus on making things better. There is a feeling now that the worst is behind us as there are positive green shoots coming up everywhere. Things are going back to normal and it is a matter of time before the travel and tourism sector is back to pre-Covid times. Although the black swan event shook the very foundation of this vibrant and bustling sector, the industry is optimistic to regain the lost vibrancy and is banking on ‘revenge travel’ once the health crisis is controlled to help the sector recover. Hospitality and tourism are a very important component of the economy, and we need to ensure it bounces back and thrives. The Covid-19 crisis is an opportunity to rethink tourism for the future and the measures put in place today will shape the tourism of tomorrow.
(The author is a travel blogger & Co-Owner at Muscle and Strength India. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)