Over the years, the tourism industry has gained market in our country with travelers across the world flocking to India for various types of tourism. We also saw an advent of tourism campaigns to boost the industry in India, one of the popular one being ‘Incredible India’ and various others with focus on specific states and regions as well. The tourism industry has grown manifold with India’s domestic tourism being the third largest in the world with close to 1.7 billion tourism visits while our share of the international market has become over 1 percent with earnings of around $29 billion in Forex.
With its immense natural resources and rich cultural and historic heritage, India has become one of the top destinations for visit across the world. The growth of the Indian tourism, travel and hospitality industry has also contributed to better structured and packaged tours provided by India’s myriad travel agents, tour operators, hotels, guides, restaurants giving the travelers an experience of a lifetime.
Recently as the world came to a halt and a slew of measures were taken by the government to protect various sectors in the economy, the tourism industry felt largely abandoned. The Indian tourism industry has contributed to almost 10 percent in India’s Gross domestic product and provides over five crore jobs in the sector. Therefore questions are being raised for the lack of support to the industry by associations such as FAITH.
FAITH (Federation of associations in Indian tourism & hospitality) is the policy federation of the nation associations which comprises of ADTOI, ATOAI, FHRAI, HAI, IATO, ICPB, IHHA, ITTA, TAAI, TAFI and Cause Partner – AIRDA. Recently it has reached out to parliamentarians due to the lack of response received even after requests were made for the survival and revival relief during the last 100 days. This lack of support is producing much fear among the people who are involved in the industry in a major way who say that even as we can see the situation getting dire, there has not been an attempt to provide sector specific stimulus for the industry. Therefore, FAITH has resorted to change the narrative by asking ‘Why not tourism’ instead of reiterating the justification for ‘Why tourism’. This has also caused a feeling in the minds of those involved in the industry that the government does not duly recognize the contribution of the sector on job creation, GDP and Forex growth.
Amid this stressful period, FAITH is fighting hard to get the voice of the industry heard by pushing parliamentarians to raise the question of ‘Why not tourism’ on major platforms. The current scenario has also lead to pressure of job retention among crores of families in rural and urban India who are dependent of the tourism industry for their livelihood. Therefore the association has requested for a tourism specific relief package in the coming months to revive the fate of the industry.
COVID 19 has brought about caution among travelers who wants to ensure safe travel. Also due to restrictions on the opening up of international travelers, the influx has been drastically low. Therefore it is yet to see the extent of support and relief measures that the government would provide to strategically bring the industry out of the rabbit hole.