Tourism…. Livelihood need of the hour

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By Charles Bonifacio

The travel and tourism industry is no stranger to hurricane’s, floods, volcanoes, terrorism attacks and hardships and for the last six months we have been seriously hampered by the pandemic. However, we have seen robust leadership actions keeping companies and their people above water while remaining focussed on long term growth.

  Being an optimist to the core I for one is of the firm opinion that this is a passing phase and there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

 While many of our travel and hospitality players have acted quickly to retain customer goodwill, tap into new sources of liquidity and work effectively with existing staff strengths to agree on voluntary redundancy programs, we have also seen innovation and a focus on customer experience.

  These examples illustrate the travel and hospitality industry’s strength that will pave its way forward through these challenging times. Ottawa wants to pay Canadian tourists $100 to visit. Tourists who book a minimum of two consecutive nights at a participating hotel through the Ottawa tourism website will receive $100 of their hotel stay.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) announced on September 16, 2020 that every Singaporean aged 18 and over will get $100 worth of tourism vouchers to spend locally on staycations, attraction tickets and tours.

Here is what we need to know:

Are there flights to India right now? And can I travel out of India?

 Way back in May India started repatriation flights for stranded nationals known as Vande Bharat Mission. In July India started to form travel bubbles or transport bubbles or air transport arrangements which are temporary arrangements between two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are reciprocal in nature meaning airlines from both countries enjoy similar benefits.

Presently India has air transport arrangements with the United Kingdom,United States of America, United Arab Emirates, Canada , France, Germany, Qatar, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Nigeria, Japan and Maldives.

 The details of such arrangements and the categories of travellers permitted to fly on these flights has been updated by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on September 17 2020, and available on their site.

Can I travel domestically within India?

The instant answer is Yes. Indian domestic flights were allowed to resume from May 25th and passenger numbers have been growing steadily since then. Some states are actively trying to incentivise travellers in order to boost their tourism economies.

The writer is a hospitality professional, past president of TTAG, past president of Skal International Goa and an active hospitality strategist and influencer.