We all know that pandemic is still here and travel is not going to be pre-covid normal anytime soon. Regarding this, the UN recently released an official statement that said that it’s almost impossible for international travel to come back to normal before 2024. Now, 2024 is still understandable but in India, the travel is not getting normal anytime before 2026. And this statement is backed by a report released by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER).
COVID-19 and its constantly lingering new variants have not only affected the tourism industry for India, but the case has been the same for the tourism of the whole world. The end of 2021 was bringing new hopes and perspectives into people’s lives when the vaccination drives were being conducted worldwide. People were feeling normal again and wanted to travel again. But then all the dreams had to stop when the new variant of COVID came into the picture.
When the Omnicron cases started to rise at full speed, the countries started to close their borders for people traveling from at-risk nations. Travel guidelines were announced and international tourism was in a panic fiasco, hence many strict guidelines came into the picture.
If we compare to pre-pandemic levels, the arrival of foreign tourists went down by 63% at the end of 2021 as per the reports. South Asia was worse as it only managed to recover only 10% after 2019 and as far as India is concerned, it was 96% below its pre-pandemic numbers till June last year.
When things started to get normal, hotel bookings were picking up again in July 2021 but when November came and cases started to rise, the bookings were canceled and the number became super low again. So, all in all, the hotel bookings took a toss again in 2022 and the conditions still haven’t improved.
Regarding India, it has been witnessed that in recent years, the number of people directly and indirectly employed by the travel and tourism industry has been steadily increasing.
As per a study commissioned by India’s Tourism Ministry, the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), it has been seen that the number of people employed within the tourism sector has increased, be it directly or indirectly. And this is the scenario in India. The study estimated that during 2019-20 this number turned out to be 3.5 crores. But this number fell by 18 lakhs by the third quarter of 2020.
If the report is rock solid and we are to believe it, even if we think with our most positive mindset, tourism’s revival can only be half by 2025 of what it was in 2019. Hence, the report stated that the revival is slow and it could be normal by 2026.