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Immediate Steps Needed to Minimise COVID-19 impact: FICCI – Grant Thornton

There is an urgent need to take immediate steps to not only contain the spread of the virus but also to address the key pain areas of the industry to minimise the impact of the outbreak on the Indian economy and businesses, says a report titled ‘Travel and Tourism – Survive, Revive and Thrive in Times of COVID-19’ by FICCI-Grant Thornton.

The report suggests that a combination of monetary, fiscal and financial market measures is needed to help the businesses and people cope with the crisis. Therefore, to be able to frame correct actions and policy measures, it is important to understand the specific problems. This alone can enable the government to take appropriate measures. The Indian travel and tourism industry has a significant impact on the economic growth of India.

The report highlights recommendations to the central and state governments along with guidance for business across segments in aviation, hospitality, etc. on emerging stronger and leveraging the growth opportunities.

The report highlights the support from the government with respect to regulatory and policy measures including a one-time rescheduling of principal/interest dues in line with the estimated cash flows, direct cash support, waiver of statutory dues as well as the extension of the current six-month moratorium among others.

Vinod Zutshi, Former Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India while highlighting the opportunities in the sector said, “We must focus on increasing investment in the emerging technologies and skill development of the workforce which are required for the new normal scenario.”

He further added that despite COVID-19 crisis, the government has opened the economy including the travel and tourism. “India is the front runner and we are opening travel and tourism faster than many other countries,” said Zutshi.

Jyotsna Suri, Past President, FICCI and Chairperson, FICCI Tourism Committee and CMD, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group said that as an industry we are optimistic and resilient. “If the Centre and the State governments along with all stakeholders work together, there is nothing stopping the travel and tourism sector to be the front runner to kick start the Indian economy.”

Dipak Deva, Co-Chairman, FICCI Tourism Committee & MD, SITA, TCI & Distant Frontiers said, "This is the opportune time for the government to grant export status to the industry under Section 2 (6) of IGST Act for foreign exchange earnings. The benefits from this will make us more competitive."

Ashish Kumar, Co-Chairman, FICCI Travel Technology Committee and Thought Leader said that technology will play an important role in the revival of this sector. “Technology is here to stay. We have to embrace it, love it and revolutionize it, be it emerging or existing technology. It must reach the grassroots level.

Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI said that travel and tourism sector has been greatly impacted by COVID-19 and has impacted this sector since the start of the year.

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