‘Revitalising Tourism – A Strategic Perspective’ organized by FICCI Jaipur
Jaipur: COVID-19 has put the world on a stand-still and tourism industry is severely hit too. With an objective to deliberate and evolve the strategies for the future in tourism post lockdown, FICCI Rajasthan today organized a webinar on “Revitalising Tourism – A Strategic Perspective”.
Addressing the webinar, Ms. Sreya Guha, Principal Secretary, Tourism, Art & Culture, Government of Rajasthan said, “The Government is keen to address the challenges of the Tourism sector and is working on a bail-out package for the industry. It under process and would become vital step to revive and support the industry. To engage and remain in focus, Rajasthan Government has launched various digital promotion campaign along with new quizzes, challenges etc and targeting not only the Domestic Tourists but also International Tourists.
For promotion of folk arts and its artist during this lockdown she said, "Rajasthan Government has started a dedicated YouTube channel for promoting Art& Culture. We are providing a fee of Rs. 2500/- per local performer for their performance. by doing so we are trying to build confidence among people for future."
Elaborating the purpose of the webinar, Mr. Atul Sharma, Head,, FICCI Rajasthan State Council said, “Our today’s webinar is more on revival strategies with focus on innovation, marketing, promotion and packaging to revitalise the sector. It is time to review our existing marketing strategies because a new chapter is going to open post lockdown. We should closely relook upon the famous 4Ps of marketing, which have been Product, Pricing, Promotion and Place.”
According to Mr. Randhir Vikram Singh, Co-Chairman, FICCI Rajasthan State Council & MD, Mandawa Hotels, “Heritage Hotel Tourism/ Rural Tourism/ Farm Tourism/ Paying Guest Tourism would now be the most popular forms of tourism in the post COVID-19 period. Everybody would shy away from large and big hotels and feel more safe and secure in the smaller set ups with no central ACs, no closed windows etc. thus these would be the preferred choice. Therefore, if these are promoted in the right manner they could do wonders for the rural economy by providing employment to the rural people in their villages itself thus avoiding migration. This would also generate ancillary units in the villages relating to the local art and craft.”
Sharing his views, Mr. Abhishek Daga, Co-Founder, Thrillophilia said, “For revitalising tourism, the industry would need physical changes made to make travel safer and these need to be visible measures which can be seen and felt. The pandemic has let people emotionally scarred and travel is a great stress-buster. People haven't changed in that they still want to go places, but they're going to be a lot more cautious about what they do and where they go.”
He further said, “Hotels, airports, airlines, suppliers all will have to change, all consumers interaction points will need to be relooked and communicate that back to guests in order to increase their comfort level, new technology trends might play a critical role, we might soon see electronic passports and IDs, boarding passes, medical screening and robot cleaners being deployed widely to limit physical contact between people and surfaces. A more mindful approach to travel will likely be top of mind: fewer trips, longer trips, more meaningful trips.”
During the session, Mr. Rajiv Arora, Political Activist & Founder, Amrapali said, “There will be severe cash crunch in tourism sector and we need to setup immediately a COVID-19 Interest free working capital fund with long term slow principle repayment for tourism. Stop all statuary liabilities for 12 months with no interest accrual. Mr. Arora feels that when tourism and travel sector will open, traveler would be inclined towards wellness tourism, near nature & organic food & farming. We should focus on domestic tourist & promote local circuits and rebrand ourselves as a safe destination.”
Sharing facts, Mr. Sumitro Kar, Executive Director, World Travel & Tourism Council, India Initiative (WTTCII) mentioned, “In 2019, WTTC reports Travel & Tourism contributed to 6.8% of India’s GDP or INR 13681.1 BN and 39 MN jobs or 8% of total employment. Aviation & Tourism, being the first hit in this crisis, these numbers will change. With Jobs and Revenue losses mounting, State Governments will be crucial partners in recovery and revival. Rajasthan must lead by extending exemplary support to its most important sector – Waiver of Property & Excise Taxes, Licence fees, Heat-Light-Power billable at actual consumption for next 12 months, which will provide huge relief for Hotels & Tourism entities. ATF must come under GST and at 12% with ITC. Till such time to keep Airlines flying, States must waive Excise Duty on ATF and rationalize VAT on ATF to 4% for next 6 months.”
Moderating the session, Dr Arvind Kalia, National Head – Mentoring, Rajasthan Patrika said, “Tourism means movement and it is restricted now. This can trigger liquidity crisis and mass bankruptcy in the industry that provides millions of jobs and immense contribution to economy. This webinar addresses diverse issues with feasible probable counter measures ranging from micro to macro levels. Constructive inputs are needed from each level i.e. micro unit level and the highest level of the government. “
Addressing the issue, Mr. Akash Poddar, Chief Operating Officer, Tsi Yatra Pvt. Ltd. said, “Now the time will be for survival, everyone has to go for cost cutting. Even Bigger companies would come on start up mode to reconsider all the things. We are not sure when will business come back and in which form and therefore we need to brace ourselves. Now we need to focus on domestic tourism sector, instead of promoting our places overseas in order to attract Indian tourists to visit different Indian destinations.”
The webinar was well received by the audience including industry members who actively proposed many industry related queries.