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Tuesday, 25 August, 2020, 10 : 00 AM [IST]

‘IPL could be a litmus test marking early onset of winter tourism’

In the absence of any sector-specific relief provided by the government for the travel & sector in India, the industry continues to be inundated with job losses and winding up of businesses. In such a scenario, it has become difficult to assess the actual impact of the pandemic on the sector (FAITH has already revised its risk guidance for the travel & tourism three times since March 2020).

At such a juncture, Jaal Shah, Group Managing Director, Travel Designer Group, believes that the industry will have to watch the developments in the next two months to make any estimation. “IPL (Indian Premier League) 2020 could be a litmus test. With UAE allowing Indian tourists and mulling to allow spectators, it could mark an early onset of winter tourist season. After all, Indians account for highest number of tourist arrivals to UAE,” Shah said.

Explaining his viewpoint, Shah cited the examples of Thailand and UK. “The Thailand government is subsidising domestic vacations by up to 50% for its citizens; and UK government’s reduction of VAT for hospitality and tourism industry, and subsidy for eating out generated good amount of spending by people. Several subsidies have been announced by other governments to encourage tourism. These steps will help recovery. However, recovery depends on multiple interlinked factors from global macro-economy to the financial health of airlines and hotel chains to the disposable income of consumers.”

Talking about recovery, Shah believes that currently, the silver lining is domestic tourism, however, in terms of volume overseas travel has to resume. “For India, thankfully, traditional domestic travel destinations like Himachal, Ladakh, Goa, Uttarakhand, Andamans and Pondicherry are attractive to replace some of the short-haul international destinations. Having said that, domestic tourism cannot replace outbound tourism by volume as we  move towards normalcy.”
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