Tourism and wellness consultant Subhash Verma worked with Lufthansa for over three decades. For the last 20 years, the present advisor of Indian Association of Travel and Tourism Experts (IATTE) has been successfully running Travel Plus, a service provider of tours and travel. On World Tourism Day (September 27), Saurabh Tankha speaks to the veteran expert…
How badly has the tourism sector been hit by the coronavirus pandemic in India?
It’s the first time in 100 years that a pandemic has hit all industries globally but the travel, tourism and hospitality are the worst hit. In 2018-19, Indian tourism contributed Rs 16 lakh crore to the total GDP – it created 40 million plus jobs which means eight per cent of total employment.
How do you see the tourism sector reviving itself in the post-Covid-19 era?
Firstly, it’s very unfortunate that the Government of India has not come forward to help or support the tourism sector as has happened in many other countries in the world. I think it will take, at least, two years to get back on track. But over this period, I fear, many small and midsized companies in the business will have to shut shop. And, I guess, the process of doing business will change completely.
It was earlier said that “tourism will end terrorism”. Should the statement now read “tourism will end coronavirus”?
There is no doubt that tourism will bounce back, not only in India but globally. And not only will it survive and revive, it will shine as well. Mankind has travel in its DNA so tourism will never ever end though one will require certain health and safety measures as standard operating procedures for safe travel. Much like global security went up manifold after 9/11, health security rules and regulations will go up manifold now.
In your opinion, which states and destinations in India will be the first ones to witness tourist inflow?
Tourists will prefer wellness and health resorts or opt for ecotourism destinations and some might travel to heritage venues. Experience-based travel destinations will be preferred.
What role does the Indian Association of Travel and Tourism Experts (IATTE) aims to play in the tourism sector of the country?
IATTE is a recent take-off but an online platform which brings the organised and non-organised agents, the biggest to the smallest agents from the trade – together. We are promoting responsible and sustainable tourism and we want to bring India closer to the world. Our objective is to empower, connect and sustain.