The state of Uttarakhand has announced discount vouchers for tourists if they plan to spend some time in the beautiful state, in a bid to save the ailing travel industry.
India is quite heavily affected by the COVID pandemic. Quite anticipatorily India’s tourism sector has received a heavy blow as well. The tourism industry is practically in a standstill.
‘Tourist Incentive Coupon’ worth rupees 1000 will be available for visitors of they register and book stays from the government tourism portal of the state.
The discount will be applicable anytime soon. The coupon will be applicable if the booking is made for a maximum of three days.
“The tourists will be given the discount coupon while registering themselves on the government portal under the tourist category.
They will then be able to use the coupon during their stay in a hotel or homestay in the tourist spots of the state,” said Satpal Maharaj, tourism minister, Uttarakhand.
A cabinet meeting held last week’s Friday, saw the above decisions being finalized.
Another step taken by the tourism sector confirmed that refunds will be made to visitors had booked for their visit to Jim Corbett National park. Since the park cannot be opened as yet, the decision to refund was made.
Incentive schemes have been issued in some other countries of the world as well to revive tourism. Japan, Sicily, and Cyprus are some of them.
T. Dilip Jawalkar, tourism secretary, says, “The introduction of the TIC scheme makes our state Uttarakhand the first-ever state in India to introduce such an incentive-based scheme.”
Not all areas of Uttarakhand will fall under the scheme. The list will also be amended soon.
This scheme is still subjected to trial and error. A buffer time of one month will be allotted. If successful the scheme is likely to be extended.
An estimated 2.7 crore is allotted as expenditure for the scheme. The Prime Minister of India’s ‘Vocal for Local’ policy seems to be the backbone in structuring this scheme.
An anticipating hotelier, Dhairya Arora said, “I feel that the TIC scheme launched by the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board will prove to be quite beneficial from the tourists as well as hotel and homestay owners’ perspective.
This is a welcoming initiative from the Uttarakhand government and will help in boosting the tourism-related economy in the state.”
The government must think out-of-the-box
Tourism in India will be a matter of chaos as the economy re-opens. The nation that started off with relatively lesser COVID-19 count than other smaller nations, and ended up becoming the world’s second worst-region with the highest COVID-19 cases.
Experts have already voiced their opinions on the condition of the tourism industry in India and the way it has been impacted, thanks to the pandemic. Pandemic hit the global tourism industry first, and the industry by its nature will be the last to revive.
As per the current condition, high caseload and limited international flights have been keeping tourists at bay from India.
Leading data analyst company GlobalData said despite the country’s Unlock 4.0 plan, even domestic tourism will take a long time to revive.
“Travel-dependent economies across the globe are coming up with innovative solutions, including activities for instilling confidence – like the SG Clean, Qatar Clean initiatives – as well as activities to attract tourists – like safe travel bubbles, pilot projects and offering incentives,” Animesh Kumar, Director of Travel and Tourism Consulting at GlobalData told Hotelier India.
He said given the current state of the country, announcing cash grants may not be a wise step by the government since it will put additional burden to the government.
“The government, on its part, must extend support to ease the immediate cash flow challenges through measures like interest-free loans, provident fund relief, and GST exemption,” Kumar said.