All the international travel destinations have become `Forbidden Cities’. The travel and tourism sector is bearing the brunt of the Coronavirus Pandemic. With borders sealed, and airplanes grounded, aviation companies have already started laying off people.
Spike in cases in China, Italy, Spain, USA, Japan, Iran, amongst others have caused worldwide travel bans, visa and flight cancellations. Closing of borders has crippled companies. As the government has already issued a travel advisory to ‘curb all non-essential travel’, nobody is booking for the summer season. Those who have already done the bookings continue to `wait and watch.’
Airlines have also cancelled all flights between world’s biggest economies; namely America and China. The hospitality business too has taken the biggest hit of the century. In fact, many five star hotels are being used as Quarantine wards for COVID-19 patients.
According to Global Data, a leading research and consulting company, China-outbound tourism is a significant contributor to the global tourism industry, accounting for about 12%, or 159 million, of global outbound travelers in 2019. Moreover, the Chinese-outbound market had the second-highest spending last year, with an expenditure of US$275billion.
The key destinations for China travelers are Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Taiwan, the United States and France.
As per data by the Tourism Ministry, Foreign tourist arrivals (FTA) have dropped month on month since January. The number of visitors who visited the Statue of Unity in Gujarat dropped by over 38 per cent from January to February, and the revenue collected fell approximately ₹5 crore.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has 3,691 sites registered with it, of which 38 are world heritage sites. As per information provided by the ASI, the total revenue from ticketed monuments was 302.34 in FY19. But, after the lockdown, everything has been shut. Business has literally come to a standstill and everyone is bleeding in an already challenging business scenario.
Several tourism, hospitality and aviation industry bodies have written to the government for interim relief to pay EMIs, installments, taxes, and salaries to employees. The road to recovery for the industry is surely difficult, at least for 2020.
The World Travel and Tourism Council has warned the COVID-19 pandemic could cut 50 million jobs worldwide in the travel and tourism industry. Asia is expected to be the worst affected.
Once the outbreak is over, it could take up to 10 months for the industry to recover. The tourism industry currently accounts for 10% of global GDP.
Let us hope and pray that the we can soon take control of this `Novel Virus.’