Coronavirus hits travel and tourism hard! USD 28 billion already lost

FE Online
The cancellation of airline tickets post the news of viral outbreak has gone up to 80 percent in March (Reuters image/ File)

The coronavirus pandemic could punch another blow to a vital sector of an already battering Indian economy–Indian travel and tourism industry. The move by the government to suspend the visa issued can deepen the crisis of the tourism industry after the tourists had gone apprehensive of travelling the world. The coronavirus outbreak can hurt the Indian economy by thousands of crores, according to industry chamber CII. According to CII, the COVID-19 which has now been declared as a pandemic is arguably the worst crisis ever to hit the Indian tourism industry. The viral outbreak has affected every segment of the tourism industry– inbound, outbound and domestic, across almost all tourism verticals — leisure, adventure, heritage, MICE, cruise, corporate and niche segments.

The tourism industry comprises chains of hotels, travel agents, tour operations, destinations, restaurants, family entertainment venues and air, land and sea transportation and the novel coronavirus has hit almost all of them in some way or other. A PTI report quoting an impact assessment by the CII Tourism Committee has suggested that the tourism industry has incurred a loss of approximately USD 28 billion between October to March.

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The cancellation of airline tickets post the news of viral outbreak has gone up to 80 percent in March and it alone has the potential to rob India off in multiples of tens of thousands of crores, the report suggested further, quoting impact assessment by the CII. And now, as the government has stepped up to stop the further spread of the virus and suspended the visas granted before, the impact "will be worse", as the impact assessment report has suggested.

The viral outbreak has not only created chaos and cancellation of the tickets for travel in the near future but has also created a slump in the booking for travel in the October 2020- March 2021 season, the report has said. The report has raised alarm on the threat the virus poses to the remainder of the 2020 tourism season.