Mumbai: Focus on sustainable practices and digital innovation to boost travel and tourism post Covid-19, say panelists at Mumbai First and CityNet webinar

Focussing on innovative methods and techniques to boost Urban Tourism post-Covid-19, Mumbai First, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in collaboration with CityNet, an association of urban stakeholders committed to sustainable development in the Asia Pacific region, conducted an international webinar on 'Changing face of Urban Tourism Post Covid: Asian experience' on Thursday.

During the webinar including a panel discussion, major points were highlighted such as measures for sustainable tourism, dire need to boost the travel and tourism industry which has been severely hit by the pandemic, ensuring safe tourism post Covid-19, encouraging domestic travel and incorporating technological transformation such as virtual tours, travel-friendly apps and digital arenas in the future.

Valsa Nair Singh, Principal Secretary, Tourism, Government of Maharashtra, said, "We are working on initiating a Sustainable Tourism policy in the next five to six months in Maharashtra in order to create sustainable practices for tourism providers. We have also started new agro tourism policy including open spaces which can serve as a safe technique for tourists post Covid-19 and also enhance sustainable tourism. We are also working on creating standard operating procedures (SOPs) for vacation rental homes where tourists can stay in a safe and secured environment in the future."

While, explaining some measures taken in Taiwan, Chuen-huey Jiang, Senior Specialist, Department of Information and Tourism, Taipei City Government, said, "We have initiated Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual reality (VR) technology to provide a digital tour of Taipei City to travellers. We have also provided subsidies to travellers in quarantine facilities and cut down property tax rates for hotels. We are encouraging hotels to convert into quarantine facilities to boost their financial status. We are willing to exchange ideas with Mumbai City in order to enhance tourism in the future."

Ashwini Kakkar, managing partner of IndVenture Partners LLP and director of The Travel Partnership Corporation (TTPC), Washington DC, said, "The Central Government of India, state governments and city authorities should waive off all taxes on travel and tourism for the current period of time. The travel and tourism industry has been worst hit by the pandemic and many have lost their jobs. We need to boost this industry to improve the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of India and enhance our economy."

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