As an appeal to the Government of India to give the tourism industry due attention to the crisis unfolding amidst the pandemic, on the 27th of September (World Tourism Day), some enterprising members of the Indian Tourism Fraternity on behalf of the whole travel community created an initiative for a peaceful drive-around in each city of India.
As part of their appeal to the Government, it was also an appeal from the members to the entire tourism fraternity of India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Mumbai to Meghalaya, Delhi to Deccan to stand united in prayer to Save Tourism, Save Jobs, Save the Economy.
It was seen that tourism stakeholders in Delhi embarked upon the awareness campaign “Drive Around The City in your vehicle” in an attempt to attract the attention of the public and the government to the adversities faced by the tourism industry. The rally started at 10:30 am and the approx duration of the drive was for two hours. Physical posters for the cars were handed over at the starting point at Aruna Asif Ali Marg ( Near Sanjay Van). The convoy covered areas like the Qutab Minar, Safdarjung Airport / Tomb, Pragati Maidan, Delhi Gate, Central Delhi, Connaught Place and ending at India Gate.
The industry directly affects two crore workers and about 10 percent of the GDP. Without intervention, there would be an industry-wide collapse. In India, travel and tourism has already been decimated. Following the current protocol in place against international travel, businesses involved in tourism have overnight lost their relevance. Zero revenues of a highly competitive industry almost immediately triggered massive job losses and huge salary cuts. Thus an existential issue for the industry and its various stakeholders to the most humble cab driver or guide has come to the fore. It is an irony that an industry that contributes 9.4 per cent of the GDP and 8.16 per cent of total employment is gasping for breath and desperately seeking attention as well as resuscitation.
Thus, in these unprecedented times, to show solidarity and to appeal to the Government, the members of the tourism fraternity had planned to conduct peaceful drive-through various cities of India.
Facing an inevitable and painful extinction there seems to be no other option but to come out to the streets in form of the peaceful drives.
The members also have listed the following immediate remedies to offer as below that would help SAVE TOURISM AND ALSO SAVE LIVES.
- SEIS (A regular subsidy) – Immediate release for FY 2019-20 and enhancement to 10 per cent for FY 2020-21.
- Atma Nirbhar Loans: Collateral free and deferred loans with low interests @ 6 per cent with moratorium till October 2022 with an enhancement from 20 per cent to 50 per cent.
- Tourism Ministry, Government of India approved and MSME registered to be given soft loans even if they do not have past borrowings.
- Entry fees to be either free or, reduced at all monuments and national parks till March 2022.
- Road taxes on tourist vehicles to be withdrawn or, reduced till March, 2022.
- Abolish tax regimes like TCS that put Indian companies at a disadvantage. Clients and overseas tour operators would be incentivized to book directly with destination companies. This would entail severe losses of revenue including foreign exchange to the Indian government.
- Higher-income tax exemption limits to smaller companies.
- Subsidies electricity and license charges for hotels till March 2022.
- Create tourism bubbles between friendly nations with a simple VISA regime.
- Faster RT-PCR Tests and results to facilitate travel between countries.
The above are steps that would help the tourism fraternity of five crore families to survive the current challenges and be alive as well as robust in taking advantage of the pent up travels that are expected to happen at the end of the pandemic when revenge tourism is largely anticipated. Tourism could become 20 per cent of GDP when the potential tsunami of visitors will be unleashed.
Members on behalf of the Indian tourism fraternity and five crore travel colleagues and their family members were Rajesh Mudgill, Atul Rai, Sunil Mishra , Lajpat Rai, Harish Mathur, Wg Cdr JS Nayal, Sanjay Razdan, Sanjay Basu, Ravi Singh, Sohan Singh, Ambuj Tyagi, Ravinder Kumar, Ravi Makkar, Shibani Kapoor, Vijay Sarathy, Dharmendra Kumar, Vikas Suda, Anil Chetwani, Ritu Saigal, Tapas Banerjee, Parul Sinha, Rahul Gaur, Bala Subramanyam, Dhruv Razdan, Chaitanya Modgill, Sanjeev Ticku, Lally Mathews, Arun Anand, EM Najeeb, PK Marwah and Vishal Yadav.