Jawaharbhai Pethaljibhai Chavda, Tourism Minister, Govt of Gujarat, on Tuesday said that COVID-19 is the biggest challenge that the worldwide tourism sector has faced till now and government of Gujarat is prepared to extend all necessary support to revive the industry.
Addressing a webinar ‘Future of Tourism Post COVID-19’, organized by FICCI Gujarat State Council, Chavda said, “The economic revival measures announced by the Prime Minister and the Finance Ministry have bought activities back to normal in a phased manner and that we expect total normalcy in the next few months,” he added.
Speaking on the economic packages for the tourism industry Chavda said, “The government of Gujarat has announced a special relief package to boost the state’s economy which can have a direct or indirect impact on the tourism industry.” The role of tourism in the Indian economy and the far-reaching effects of the epidemic has been felt on the economy. “I am confident that with the participation of all stakeholders, including companies and agencies of the tourism industry, we’ll be ready to revitalize the sector and move towards the new normalcy,” he added.
Highlighting the impact of the pandemic on the industry, Chavda said, “The challenges for the tourism industry aren’t over yet. Although with the opening of the reservations for flights, trains, and buses, traveling has become possible again, the tourists are still apprehensive about their safety and are avoiding travel as far as possible.”
He further said that it becomes the responsibility of the tourism industry to make sure the safety of the tourists. “We got to gradually reduce travel restrictions. The Central and the state governments along with the industry associations have issued various guidelines and we have to make sure that all norms are followed,” he added.
He said that the government is going to develop Gujarat as a beautiful tourist hub and make more employment opportunities
Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India said that the primary step towards normalcy is to make a perception of safety among the travelers. “The most significant enabler for times to come is the safety factor- people have to feel safe to travel. It must be a joint effort of not only the govt institutions and travel associations, but the industry and citizens too,” she added.
She said that each state has different protocols associated with COVID-19. “In order to make ease of travel, there’s a requirement to have harmonization of rules. We are already connected with various states and once we align travel rules to at least one or two common systems across the country, people will feel more inclined to travel,” she said and added that the domestic tourism will open first, and we need to be ready for that. “We need to look at creating short travel itineraries. Most of the states are in the process of curating one- or two-night itineraries,” she emphasized.
Jenu Devan, MD, Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd., said, “The tourism industry must come forward and promote local tourism in Gujarat.”
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