Saturday, February 06, 2021

Pune: Tour operators pin hope on summer amid pandemic blues

Pune: With little for the tourism and hospitality industry to cheer from the recently announced Union Budget, the industry is still limping to survive. Since March last year, tourism – both domestic and international – has been reduced to nil with huge losses pegged in the subsequent months.

Though unlocking measures by the Centre have been largely initiated, international travel continues to remain restricted. This will add load onto domestic travel but hoteliers, travel agencies, tour operators and professionals associated with allied tourism services have only one concern – survival till green shoots appear in terms of tourists’ footfall and bookings.

“The tourism industry got little government support in the past several months. It is disappointing to get ignored even in the recent Budget,” said Vishwas Kelkar, immediate former chairman of the Travel Agents’ Association.

Having realised that professionals have to take matters in their own hands and face the slump unitedly, the recent annual general body meeting decided to approach banks and seek small loans till the situation improves. The move comes ahead of the summer season, considered the tourism season’s peak in India.

What has made the travel associations hopeful is the arrival of vaccines. With more people likely to get inoculated in a phase-wise manner in the coming months, the industry feels that revival, though slow, is soon on the cards.

“People stayed at home all of last year and now wish to venture outdoors. Tourists will feel confident if they are given appropriate safety and sanitisation facilities. Whenever that happens, we must ensure that all required arrangements are in place and that we remain fully geared to welcome tourists,” Kelkar added.

05/02/21 Anjali Marar/Indian Express

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