On social media, a lot of travel influencers are advising their followers to not travel in 2020 in order to stay away from contracting Coronavirus/Covid-19, which I feel is quite a responsible act.
However, if you happened to have read my previous blog on effects of Coronavirus on travel & tourism industry in India, you’ll understand why as a traveller, or for that matter, as a ‘travel influencer,’ the travel world needs you more than ever right now.
How Important is Tourism in India and The Effect of Covid-19 On It?
Let me first highlight the points of the previous blog I wrote to help you understand my point:
- In 2018, travel & tourism contributed 9.2% in India’s GDP and generated 26.7 million jobs in that particular year.
- The tourism sector accounts for 12.75% of employment in India, where 5.56% of it is direct and 7.19% is indirect.
- Over 87 million people were employed in the travel sector in 2018-19 in India, according to the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) annual report for 2019-20.
- It is estimated that in India, branded and organised hotels annual revenue is ₹38,000 crore ($5 billion).
- The restaurant industry in India, has an annual turnover of approx ₹4 lakh crore ($53 billion). This industry provides direct employment to more than 7 million people.
- India’s air transport industry employs over 400,000 people directly and 940,000 are employed in related supply chains.
To add to this statistics, 350 employees of one of India’s leading travel companies, Make My Trip, were laid off recently. Clearly, tourism industry in India is the worst-hit sector in this pandemic. And with its collapse, not one, but many other sectors connected with it, also stare at a heavy loss of profit as well as employment.
Tourism is one of the Major Revenue Sources for Few States in India
While the states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan receive the maximum number of foreign as well as domestic tourists in India, there are smaller states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Ladakh, Goa etc., that bank largely on their tourism when it comes to revenue.
Let us take the example of my own city, Nainital in Uttarakhand. We all know that it is a popular hill station to visit in India. The city stays jam-packed in the summer months, with every single hotel being fully occupied. On the lake, sail hundreds of boats; the restaurants have a long queue during the dining hours; the street vendors can be seen crowded with the tourists; the corn stalls are overcrowded and so are the maggi and tea stalls. The candle shops, Tibetan Market and even the Bara Bazar are swarmed by tourists indicating that a lot depends on tourism in the city. And this is just one of the many places in India where tourism thrives.
Tourism lets the locals earn their bread and this pandemic has taken that very means of livelihood away from them.
Should We Travel in 2020 Then?
As of now, no clear guidelines have been provided on how to safely travel during this pandemic. And by all means, you should refrain from travelling till the time a green flag has been given to tourism. It’ll be wise to travel after ensuring your safety, and in case, even after that, if there’s a gut feeling telling you not to travel, then you must not. However, let us keep our hopes alive of tourism resuming in an organized and safe way, and if that happens, I encourage you to not stop yourself and your followers on social media from travelling in 2020.
Why You Should Travel to Domestic Destinations in 2020?
The most honest answer to this is – you’ll gain confidence in going out of your home where you have been stuck for almost 3 months now. When the travel resumes, it wouldn’t be anything like before. The new travel normal may mean driving rather than flying, and initially, road trips, that too not very far from home. And as long as it is safe, this is what you should be opting for.
Also, travelling to domestic destinations will bring the business to the local people. As we discussed earlier, Covid-19 has crippled the major source of income for many; so, travelling locally would help businesses to revive.
To travel or not in the wake of this pandemic will of course remain your discretion. My only motive for writing this blog was to give you a fresh perspective on travel 2020. Tour My India and I, would always encourage safe and responsible travel. This blog, by no means, wants to encourage you to start travelling right away, or as soon as the government gives tourism a green signal. Please take your time, read and follow the guidelines whenever the government issues them, and take the necessary precautions before planning any trip in India.
You can also contact us for the latest updates on travel; places to travel in India that are unaffected by Covid-19; and planning a safe tour to the destination of your choice.