When the reports first started to come in from Mainland China of a new disease, no one had any idea the impact COVID-19 will have on every single person on the planet, starting from how we interact with each other up to how we do business. Social distancing as a phenomenon is a by-product of this disease and it has changed our world forever. The tourism and hospitality industry is not only among the first to get hit but also among the worst-hit sectors.
The medium and small enterprises dominating the tourism and hospitality sector are likely to be severely impacted by the pandemic, and a sector-wide job cut could amount to 38 million people losing their jobs. It’s not been that long since I started up with my travel start-up to provide everyone with a comfortable yet budget-friendly experience. Already the market has not been very kind first the jet airways crash and then Cox and kings.
For people like me who were doing just good enough in the tourism sector, this is the biggest hit the sector has seen in decades.
Last year the business was very good, over all-around 28 million Indians travelled abroad and around 1.8 billion domestic, this trend was on the increase because of new and budgeted destination coming up. We had personally sold more the 1500 packages to various destinations, but by December the effect had already set in with a lot of people making queries about the cancellation of their future travel and many cancelling their travel.
Here in the state of Punjab, the travel sector gets a big chunk of customers from NRI ’s living abroad, students and their parents travelling to see them, this was also affected to a great extent, I have seen many of my clients losing their money during cancellation of their tickets. And others looking forward to getting a full refund, but the airlines trying to extend the dates of the travel at no extra charge, but clients are not willing to accept that.
Hotel, aviation, and Food & Beverage (F & B) sectors are also among the biggest sufferers of this outbreak. With the current crisis in the tourism sector, which contributes roughly 10 per cent to India’s GDP (about $275 billion), the impact on the macro-economy is expected to be huge.
We don’t know when the markets will open as of now, only estimates could be given at this point, but when they do open we won’t see a lot of inbound or outbound travel happening and even whatever happens will be of students and workers getting back to their colleges, universities and work. Domestic travel, on the other hand, will begin soon, and we are expecting the last quarter of 2020 showing some relief to the sector.
Another problem that stares at our face would be the airline sector as it been devastated because of the pandemic and their losses soring high and many thinking of already filling for bankruptcy. A lot of jobs will again be lost in this sector. The only thing that is for certain is that we are going into uncharted territories and only the future will tell how we come out.
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