Create a domestic market and retain spending in the country: Suman Billa

suman billa

FHRAI hosted an exclusive webinar with Suman Billa, Director of UNWTO discussing the current condition of hospitality industry and its effect of Hospitality institutes said, “We are facing one of the most unprecedented challenges of our time. UNWTO estimates a drop of 50-60% in the international tourist arrival this year and is really steep to drop, for which it is hard to have an contingency plan. We are looking at drop of 1 billion in tourist billion, 1 trillion in economy, 100-120 million job losses. It will almost take 2-3 years to bounce back, India’s performance is inclined with the same situation as of the world.”

Billa further said that, “Tourism spending is discretionary and it is first to shrink, only a vaccine will result in the bounce back. However, we receive 11 million tourists every year, and we send 26 million of our nationals out in the world, who spend approximately 25 bn. To survive this problem we would have to create a domestic market and to retain it in the country. To see as to how utilize the Indian tourism to fight the way back. The industry can’t wait for the vaccine and we need to restart as soon as possible. There are 4 elements which are important in our recovery plan: First, we need to have strong gate keeping for health, every state has different quarantine procedure so harmonisation of protocols is necessary, predictability have to come. Structure the policy reform- What are the elements that goes into gate keeping, PCR tests, health tests- quick digital tests, rapid antigen. We need to have simple mechanism to deal with such a situation. Secondly, a strong safety and hygiene protocol – to kill the anxiety and reassure the traveller from a strong touch points from airport, cab and hotel, they are followed guidelines in letter and script, to communicate to the world to reassure about them. Third, to have a focused start to select destination– identify few states and places and how can we develop them – complete compliant, to market in the world and around. Fourth, to build a strong synergy with airport, the country’s which are likely to come out first are the one who is working strongly with the airlines of their country.”