Indubitably, the onslaught of the Coronavirus outbreak has created massive havoc leading every country to employ experimental and controversial measures like lockdown and Social distancing. To make the country, Corona-Free, extreme restrictions have been taken continually.
It is not wrong to say that Coronavirus has trumped all stripes of our economy, making it extremely hard to survive post all the lockdown situations. It has further accentuated the prevailing issues of our so-called ‘Developing Country’. So much has been written on this topic and still, nothing has changed yet! Indeed, Coronavirus has not only halted the functionality but also highlighted our never-ending lists of problems.
One such issue is the dooming state of the Tour and Traveling industry trying extremely hard to survive the gigantic waves of not only Coronavirus but also the shattering rigid norms set by our central and State Government. Now the question arises why the tour and traveling industry will face the highest dramatic effects of Coronavirus?
As separate traveling companies along with the distinct no of travelers will be a pivotal deciding factor to understand the comprehensive scope of this industry. But this is not the only factor that will play a huge role because even when the company and our traveling fanatics are ready still, they will have to endure heaps of checking procedure and an attitude of listening to only a ‘YES’.
With the rigid border controls and constant monitoring by the state government, it is next to impossible to understand and penetrate these confusing rules, even when no one is at fault, it is still a possibility that no one can get a chance to infiltrate states as a part of making Every state a Corona-free zone. As per the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) evaluation that the tour and traveling industry is enduring an overall loss of Rs 5 lakh crore and job cuts affecting up to five crore people. This is a staggering statistic that will retell the horrors of prevailing issues of lack of employment opportunities in a much-petrifying state.
The CII National Chairman Tourism Committee, Dipak Haksar who recently made some serious revelations regarding the traveling sector said that “The industry is facing an existential crisis today. Occupancies in hotels have come to single-digit and recoveries not expected in the near future. The industry expects to lose over 2 crore jobs and revenue loss could be 60-70% this year. The tourism industry is gasping for oxygen and we urge the government to pronounce immediate Sectoral relief for the industry,”.
Mr. Diwekar further suggested that low-interest loans should be offered for revamping the business along with a 12-month suspension of all statutory dues, and a moratorium of an extra three to six months on all working capital principal, interest payments on loans.
On ground assessment, the Government has employed innumerable steps like thermal screening on the airport to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on the primary level, but is it enough? Why a country of 1,387,297,452 is relying on just a single method of thermal screening. Every one of us knows that the virus is quite agile i.e. adapting itself ensuing various undiscovered symptoms in a person and it is important to be a step ahead of this Virus. Also, by following the thermal screening only those people are taken for further check-up who showcase any of the symptoms which possess uncanny similarities with Flu symptoms, excluding the breathing issues.
Now, what about the asymptomatic individuals who are the dormant carrier of Coronavirus meeting and infecting a plethora of people. How will the Government tackle these asymptomatic individuals who show no symptoms is a difficult task without large-scale testing from traveling as they will pass the thermal screen? This is so perilous as there will be no source of linking these people with people whom they have infected shortly. This will cause a never-ending chain which will only result in more deaths and chaos. Indeed, Government control and the knack of understanding this virus are needed.
Besides, highlighting the flaws of thermal screening being the only measure to identify the Coronavirus affected individuals. We tend to forget that Coronavirus and Common ‘FLU’ the same attributes as coughing, sneezing. These symptoms make it extremely hard to identify the right individuals and can lead to Airport officials into detecting the wrong person who might have flu to further go tested. As these kits are limited and costly, they might get wasted in detecting the wrong individuals, thus leading to Government wasting our hard-earn monies on mismatched information collated and working on mere speculations to identify Corona-affected individuals.
Thermal screening can be one process but not the only process our government should rely on while traveling from one place to another as this will only make the situation more baffling and can lead to wiping out a huge chunk of individuals without giving us time to tackle this Pandemic.
Now if the traveling industry is facing such momentous challenges, the hospitality industry is next with issues of the same magnitude as both of them are directly proportional to each other. How? Just like the traveling industry is baffled with state borders and facing issues in penetrating the state rule of keeping anyone from entering from high-density corona patients irrespective of whether s/he has Coronavirus or not.
At some level, this step is advantageous but when you see through the hospitality industry perspective, this surely is a decision made to create massive devastation- leading all of their activities of catering at a halt and putting an innumerable number of people out of a job. At this time losing Jobs and dying without availing the proper care because of lack of apt Government infrastructure tells a lot about the upcoming days, where all of us are just slinging by a thread of hope that we have on our Government and this thread can snap making us fall straight on our face and there is no coming back from this anymore.
Almost, every company hailing from the Traveling and Hospitality sector has endured colossal losses not only in terms of money but also in terms of Human Capital.
Shuttl, a thriving Gurugram based startup has recently asked its 100 employees to resign over the past few days as they are unable to strike a balance on their cost expenditure.
To tackle the consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic Yatra.com, an online-based travel firm is enacting temporary pay-cuts for its workers including some being put on leave without pay from April 16 to June 30.
Also, Travel Triangle is an online marketplace for holiday packages and one of the first startups in the aforementioned sectors to execute mass layoff-TravelTriangle has fired about 250-300 people since March 20.
Vital Hotels chains like Lemon Tree and Treebo Hotels have cut down their payments and have benched their employees by putting them on leaves without pay. Marriott International has asked its corporate staff to take a 20% pay cut while a 50% pay cut has been proposed to the general managers along with a 30% cut for heads of departments.
Hyatt Hotels Corp, recently made a buzz when it said that it would lay off 1,300 people globally as it tries to steer and cope with the Coronavirus crisis, which has virtually halted global travel by keeping people indoors.
Besides, Vikram Oberoi, MD, and CEO of the Oberoi Group recently commented by stating his dissatisfaction with the lack of government aid for the sector and called for the restarting of hotel bookings. He further concluded by stating that “The Hotel Association of India” (HAI) and other groupings had solicited aid from the government at various levels. Also, they have highlighted the mismanagement by renouncing the Rs 20 lakh crore economic revival package that was announced recently as it didn’t contain anything specific for the hotel industry.
Last, to cease the ongoing spread of COVID-19 or any other future viruses, the Government must implement more serious measures of checking on a larger-scale. It needs to be more transparent and proper research infrastructure is a must. There should be an exchange of correct information cause if we equip people with the right information the spread will automatically decrease, hiding the statistics, and not taking proper decisions will only cause more unease. Also, this eerie situation has taught us to be prepared for anything that the world throws at us in the near future and if we cannot help our industries like Traveling and Hospitality which are the cornerstone of our economy how will we ever thrive and revive our economy in the upcoming days.