Boosting tourism through disruption – the Hindu

India needs a comprehensive disruptive strategy to harness the potential of the tourism and hospitality sector

India’s tourism and hospitality sector has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and has suffered significant job losses. How to get this sector out of the COVID-19 trap?

The Indian government recently announced financial support to over 11,000 registered tour guides / tourism stakeholders. He also said that once international travel resumes, the first five Lakh tourists will be issued visas for free. Also during the pre-pandemic period, many initiatives were adopted to promote the tourism sector, such as the provision of electronic visas in various categories for people from particular countries, global media campaigns, heritage trail and celebration. of the Paryatan Parv.

These measures are welcome. However, we also need other long-term measures to harness the potential of this sector. What we need is a disruptive innovation strategy that has the potential to create employment opportunities and increase income through private sector growth.

The Startup India initiative has boosted entrepreneurship. However, travel and tourism startups need a bigger boost. Innovative startups should be encouraged. Government support for ideation and access to funding is needed.

A sector with potential

According to the estimates of the former Planning Commission, an investment of 1 million euros generates 78 jobs in the tourism sector. In the manufacturing sector this creates only 18 jobs and in the agricultural sector 45. The tourism sector, unlike many other sectors, can grow with lower capital investments and without any industrial gestation period.

There is a need to train the workforce in India, so that the workers can develop the skills to perform work in the travel and tourism industry. The growth of this sector has multiplier effects on income generation as it is employment intensive with less capital investment. The India Skills Report 2019 estimates that India’s workforce will grow to around 600 million by 2022, up from 473 million currently in preparation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The tourism sector will have a major role to play in creating employment opportunities.

India has improved its competitiveness in travel and tourism, occupying the 65th position in 2013, then 40th in 2017, then 34th in 2019, according to the 2019 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report. international funds remained relatively low, at around 9-10 million. Thus, it is necessary to stress the importance of public-private partnership to improve infrastructure and tackle the issue of end connectivity, which negatively affects the experiences of international travelers. India’s travel and tourism industry is also fragmented, hampering the sector’s ability to realize its potential. This field should be encouraged to embrace the digital revolution, to promote public-private initiatives, growth of medium and small and small businesses while ensuring that India follows best practices from around the world.

Use of blockchain technology

Blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to modify, hack, or cheat the system. A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the network of computer systems on the blockchain. There are examples around the world of blockchain-based money solutions to jumpstart local tourism industries, for example. The blockchain allows the tracking of items through complex supply chains. Indian start-ups could also explore strategies in this direction. Blockchain ledger coupled with IOT devices for healthcare could have a positive impact on medical tourism.

Read also | Tourism losses could cost the world $ 4 trillion in 2020 and 2021 (UN report)

There are also challenges with the advent of disruptive technologies. The government and regulators must collaborate and design innovative mechanisms to meet the challenges of these technologies, for a harmonious growth of the sector.

Surjith Karthikeyan is an Officer of the Indian Economic Service (2010), serving as Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Finance. Views are personal

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