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Q 68- Examine the strategies and programmes in place to encourage tourism in India in the wake of the covid-19 outbreak. (250 words)

  • Paper & Topic: GS II à International Relations

 

  • Model Answer:

 

  • Introduction:

 

  • The tourism and hospitality industries, which include hotels and restaurants, have long been acknowledged as a source of growth and an engine for socioeconomic development around the world.

 

  • Tourism and hospitality industries offer riches and prosperity to towns and countries.
  • Local folks are also employed in tourism and hospitality.
  • India has figured out how to earn from this industry.
  • The tourism and hotel business in India today generates billions of dollars in revenue each year.
  • Hospitality and tourism, one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors, has been seen as a fragile industry, in that, unlike other manufacturers, the hospitality and tourism industry becomes more contrived in the event of an external or internal shock or hardship.

 

  • Body:

 

  • In India, the tourism situation is as follows:
  • This pandemic poses a particular threat to the tourism and hospitality industries.
  • COVID-19 is expected to result in a 20% to 30% drop in international visitor arrivals and a loss of US$300 billion to US$450 billion in international tourism receipts.
  • Tourism to the Nilgiris has dropped by a stunning 80 percent in the year since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
  • The number of visitors to the Government Botanical Garden (GBG) in Udhagamandalam is used as a barometer to evaluate the tourist intake into the district, according to figures from the Horticulture and Tourism Departments.
  • The number of tourists visiting the Nilgiris plummeted from 28.92 lakh in 2019 to 5.88 lakh in 2020, prior to the onset of COVID-19.

 

  • Policies and schemes to boost the tourism sector:

 

  • In India, the central government and state governments have announced separate tourism plans and strategies aimed at increasing job opportunities and development in the tourism and hospitality sectors, as well as fostering economic integration and linkages with other industries.
  • States such as Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh have built tourist systems that allow the federal government to legislate for tourism and hospitality growth.
  • The proposal to include on the concurrent list was given to state governments and reviewed during the Chief Ministers' Conference, according to reports.
  • The Ministry of Tourism's principal goal is to facilitate and strengthen Indian tourism and hospitality.
  • The Ministry's "Incredible India 2.0" initiatives and public awareness signal a change away from global promotions and toward market-specific promotional programmes and content creation.
  • The awareness campaign covers all of India's major tourism source markets, as well as emerging markets with substantial potential.
  • The projects make use of a limited number of creatives for a variety of niche products.
  • Tourism in India is a critical pillar and backbone of the Make in India initiative.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has introduced a new form of classifying entry permits visas called "Medical Visas," which can be issued for a specific reason to international visitors visiting India for medical treatment.
  • The Ministry of Tourism has added medical tourism marketing promotion to its list of new initiatives and public awareness.
  • The Government of India's Ministry of Tourism administers the Marketing Development Assistance Scheme (MDAS), which provides financial support and assistance to tourism service companies.
  • To boost and improve medical tourism, the government announced the formation of the National Medical and Wellness Tourism Board (NMWT), which will provide assistance and support to those travelling to the country for medical treatment.
  • The government of India has recently launched a new awareness initiative called "Swachhata," which is defined as a clean and spotless tourist destination that will be more reliable in the long run and will connect with tourists.
  • The Ministry of Tourism has identified 17 iconic tourist sites across the country for development as part of the Iconic Tourist Sites Development Project, and plans to work with various central ministries, state governments, urban local bodies, local communities, and industry players/private sector to develop these sites.

 

  • Bharat Parv and Paryatan-Parv
  • Dekho Apna Desh
  • Social media and website activities to promote domestic touri
  • Social awareness campaigns to promote the SAATHI Initiative

 

  • During the crisis, the Tourism Ministry took the following measures:

 

  • Setup of the COVID-19 Cell • Publication of COVID-19 advisories and guidelines
  • Access to a 24-hour helpline • ITDC's coordination with hotels regarding stranded visitors
  • ITDC's accommodation of foreign tourists
  • Joint Working Group with State Tourism Officers
  • Establishment of a "Stranded in India" website Portal Measures that must be taken:
  • In the aftermath of COVID-19, significant changes in the structure of travel and tourism demand and supply are expected to reshape the sector.
  • Promoting flexibility services and safety protocols would be another strategic tool to attract potential customers, and offering discounted rates, cancellation policies, and a better working environment would be the best opportunity for long-term tourism and hospitality sustainability.
  • Similarly, promoting and foreseeing the importance and growth of local tourism as an immediate effect, primarily tourism products related to health healing, well-being, Ayurveda, cultural and medicine with market segments to the travellers; however, domestic tourism bound towards attractions, events, and festivals, etc., discovering different cultures and caring for the environment, and generating new opportunities for all of us.
  • Steps to take:

 

  • This crisis also presents a historic chance to improve tourism's relationship with nature, climate change, and the environment.
  • It's time to rethink how the tourism industry affects our natural resources and ecosystems, building on existing work on sustainable tourism; to investigate how it interacts with our societies and other economic sectors; to better measure and manage it; to ensure a fair distribution of its benefits; and to accelerate the transition to a carbon-neutral and resilient tourism industry.
  • A concerted and coordinated reaction by all stakeholders, combined with economic recovery packages and investments in the green economy, can encourage tourist transformation.
  • Embracing local values, harnessing innovation and digitization, and providing decent jobs for all, particularly for youth, women, and the most vulnerable sections in our societies, might be at the forefront of tourism's future success.
  • The industry needs to go forward with attempts to create a new model that fosters partnerships, places host people at the centre of development, pushes evidence-based policies, and invests and operates in a carbon-neutral manner.

 

  • Conclusion:

 

  • Tourism is at a fork in the road, and the policies in place today will influence tourism in the future.
  • Without continuing government backing, the survival of enterprises across the tourism sector is in jeopardy.
  • While addressing the immediate socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 on tourism and speeding recovery to protect millions of livelihoods, this crisis is an opportunity to rethink the tourism sector and its contribution to the SDGs, nature, and the Paris Climate Agreement, an opportunity to work toward a more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient tourism.
  • The COVID-19 crisis is a watershed moment in aligning efforts to sustain tourism-dependent livelihoods with the SDGs.
  • It is necessary to examine the crisis' long-term consequences while leveraging digitalization, supporting the low-carbon transition, and encouraging the structural changes required to build a stronger and more resource-efficient future.
  • We will only be able to transform tourism, advance its contribution to the 2030 Agenda, and shift it towards an inclusive and carbon-neutral sector that harnesses innovation and digitalization, embraces local values and communities, and creates decent job opportunities for all, leaving no one behind, through collective action and international cooperation.
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