In an attempt to revive the tourism and hospitality sector, stakeholders in the industry have appealed to the central government to encourage local tourism under the union ministry's Dekho Apna Desh. The tourism industry has been amongst the worst hit amidst the pandemic.
The country has begun unlocking, but it continues to remain closed for international tourists. The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) the apex hospitality association of India said nearly 2.6 crore Indians have travelled abroad for their holidays in 2019. The association stated that if half of these Indians now choose to explore India, this would help revive the sector.
"India has some of the best coastlines and beaches in the world. Its hill stations and architectural wonders are unparalleled and we also have pilgrimage attractions. The government just needs to induce domestic travels like one of its policies,” said Pradeep Shetty, joint secretary FHRAI.
To encourage travellers, FHRAI has recommended incentivising domestic tourism by offering tax exemption under up to Rs 50,000/- to Indians. Furthermore, FHRAI informed that the hospitality and tourism sector accounts roughly for 10 per cent of India’s GDP and employs nearly 9 per cent of India’s working population. With zero foreign exchange earnings and less than 25 per cent of pre-pandemic revenues, the sector is facing an existential crisis.
"We believe that with the right kind of messaging and support from the government, India’s domestic tourism could flourish and there couldn’t be a more opportune time to push the throttle on promoting domestic tourism," said Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, vice president FHRAI.