- The initiative under the hashtag #Stayhometodaytraveltomorrow of UP tourism board with industry is aimed to bring positivity amid lockdown.
- Excise duties, water and electricity bills should be waived off for a period.
- Religious and heritage tourism can be promoted through online platforms in UP
- Government should release an immediate fund which would support the 50% salary to the hotels and restaurants.
- GST holiday for all travel professionals and deferment of ES, EPFs are demanded.
- Inexpensive package required in comparison to other states for the survival of UP Tourism Industry
Lucknow, 22nd April, 2020: Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) organized an exclusive webinar on 22nd April 2020 for discussion on way forward to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on UP Tourism along with Knowledge partner, ERNST & Young and PR Partner Kaivalya Communication. In this forum of discussion Mr Jitendra Kumar, IAS Principal Secretary Tourism Department Government of Uttar Pradesh, Mr Ravikumar N. G., Secretary Tourism, Culture and Religious Affairs & DG Tourism Government of UP, Mr Prateek Hira, Member of FICCI & President/CEO of Tornos Lucknow, Mr Ayush Rathi, Partner at Roobaroo Walks, Mr Rajeev Saxena, CMD of Sanskriti Travels, Mr Hari Sukumar, Vice President Operations, Jaypee Hotels & Resort, Mr Mohd Abdullah, CMD of Lebua Hotels India, Mr Rajat Bhakhri, CMD of Eternal Vacations Agra, Mr Kamaldeep Tripathi, Director-Retail and Distribution of Makemytrip.com, Mr Adil Zaidi, Partner and Leader in Economic Development & Infrastructure Advisory of ERNST & Young LLP and Mr Amar Tulsiyan, Co Chairman of FICCI UP State Council were present.This platform of discussion welcomed all the suggestions and concerns from around the table related to the Tourism sector of UP that substantially supports India’s GDP and economy on the large scale.
Principal Secretary Tourism Department, Government of Uttar Pradesh, Mr Jitendra Kumar IAS said, “Challenges which are faced by industry today are unprecedented and of course the revival of Tourism industry is not possible without the government’s support. Government’s revenue part is also dipping in this health emergency crisis but government assures the tourism sector to help them in survival. This discussion gave us a lot of perspective and suggestions as to how the state government can assist you. We have even come up with a hashtag for social media revolution to bring some hope and positivity with Tourism industry in this uncertain time of COVID-19 with #Stayhometodaytraveltomorrow .
Apart from this, it is a fact that we are not able to see revival of Tourism industry before the Dussehra season. So, the govt is ensuring and taking initiatives in the sectors’ favor, we are working on all 4 aspects that are operational, marketing, regulatory and fiscal. Till then, religious and heritage tourism in UP can be promoted and focused.”
Secretary Tourism, Culture and Religious Affairs & DG Tourism Government of UP, Mr Ravikumar N. G. said, “First of all, we need to understand the psychology that how people will move out after COVID-19. And we should use this situation as an opportunity as people are frustrated sitting at home and want to move out. We should concentrate and ensure that the domestic tourism moves up and people can travel from small distances. The best aspect of UP tourism is that we have pretty good number of people visiting religious places. We need to take care of these religious places and ensure how to maintain the social distancing. If restaurants can open soon after the lockdown, it will be of great help by convincing that the food they are providing is purely hygienic.”
Makemytrip, Director of Retail and Distribution, Mr Kamaldeep Tripathi said, “I would like to suggest the government to choose online platform to promote the domestic tourism in UP. The need of the hour is to adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI) in travel business now to understand the customer’s needs, promote destinations virtually with tourism board. We also need to create experience online with the active audience.”
FICCI UP State Council, Co Chairman, Mr Amar Tulsiyan said, “I believe that there is a lot of help that both the state as well as center government should do. Bailout packages to support and fund salaries of the employees in tourism, travel and hospitality sector, the government should release an immediate fund which would support the 50% salary to the hotel and restaurants on certain conditions, Up to 1000 units of electricity and water uses per month can be provided free of charge, Relaxation in state GST is requested and can be waved off for a period of 6 months and even aggressive strategy is needed to attract tourism from abroad. Business travels should also be taken up.”
Member of FICCI & President/CEO of Tornos Lucknow, Mr Prateek Hira said, “Tourism is a labor intensive industry with 4.8cr jobs, 8.1% job contribution to India and 9.2% to India’s GDP. In this crisis, we need to focus on cash flow for the survival of Tourism sector even the jobs are seriously at stake these are the two major concerns where the government needs to focus.”