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TOURISM IS AMONG THE INDUSTRIES THAT HAVE BEEN HIT HARDEST BY THE COVID

Author: Sameer Afzal Ansari, IV year of B.A.,LL.B. from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University


Tourism tis tamong tthe tindustries tthat thave tbeen thit thardest tby tthe COVID-19 tcrisis. tOver ta tyear tsince tthe tonset tof tthe tpandemic, tthe numbers tare tstaggering: tTourism tdestinations trecorded tone tbillion tfewer international tarrivals tin t2020 tthan tin t2019. t100 tto t120 tmillion ttourism jobs twere tput tat trisk, ta tlarge tportion tin tsmall tand tmedium-sized enterprises. t t


This tis ta tgrave tconcern tfor tdeveloping teconomies tas tthey tchart ta tcourse towards trecovery. tDriven tby tboth tpublic tand tprivate tsectors, tnot tonly tis tourism ta tvital tsource tof tforeign tcurrency, tit thas tthe tpotential tto tserve as ta tdevelopment t‘tool’ tto tstrengthen tsupply tchains, timprove tlocal tfirm productivity, tcreates tone tout tof tten tjobs tand tprovide tincome tfor twomen and tyoung tpeople. tAs ta tformer tminister tfor ttourism tmyself, tI thave tseen up tclose, tthe tvalue ttourism tcreates tfor tlocal tcommunities tand thow sustainable ttourism tcreates teconomic tvalue twhile tpreserving tculture tand natural tassets.


At ta trecent tpanel ton ttourism tresilience tand tbuilding tforward tbetter, during tthe tWTO’s tAid tfor tTrade tStocktaking tevent tlast tmonth, twe discussed tthe tfuture tof ttourism tgiven tthe tcurrent tchallenges. tIndustry leaders tfrom tCosta tRica, tJordan, tKenya tand tSri tLanka tshared texperiences from ttheir town tcountries tin tresponding tand tlearning tfrom tcrises, tand insights ton thow tthey tsee tthe tway tforward tfor ttourism. t


Three tclear tsteps temerged tfrom tthe tdiscussion tfor ttourism tto tbuild better tforward. tFirst, timprove ttraveler tconfidence; tsecond, tunderstand tand track tnew tmarket ttrends tand tthe tdrivers tof tdemand; tand tthird, tcommit to tbuild tmore tresilient tand tinclusive ttourism tsectors, tleveraging trenewed interest tin tsustainability t tan timportant ttakeaway tin tthe tlong tterm.


At tthe tWorld tBank tGroup t(WBG), twe tare ttaking ta tgreen, tresilient, tand inclusive tdevelopment t(GRID) tapproach tas twe tenvision tthe tpost-COVID world. tIt twas tencouraging tto tsee tsimilar tideas treflected tin tour discussion. Mr. tAllan tFlores, tformer tMinister tof tTourism, tCosta tRica, temphasized the pivotal trole tplayed tby tthe tCertification tfor tSustainable tTourism tinitiative in tpositioning tthe tcountry tas tan tecotourism tleader.


Kenya’s tMinister tof tTourism tand tWildlife tNajib tBalala tshared thow this government tis tworking ton tdiversifying tconservation trevenue. tIt twas tgood to thear tabout tthe timportant tprogress tbeing tmade tin tpublic tprivate partnerships tin tconservation, tand tengaging tin twildlife tbonds, tto tensure their tnatural theritage tis tprotected tduring ttourism tcrises. tResilience tcomes through tfocusing ton tthe tenvironment, tpeople tand ttechnology tto tprepare for tclimate tchange tand tcrises. tMainstreaming trisk tmanagement tand investing tall talong tthe ttourism tvalue tchain tis tKenya’s tapproach.


The tpanel talso tagreed ton tthe tneed tto tbuild ta tmore tinclusive tindustry, considering tthe timpact tof tCOVID-19 ton tvulnerable tgroups. tAs tan institution tcommitted tto tknowledge tand tevidence tbased tresponses, tthe WBG thas tbeen tworking tto tbetter tunderstand tthe timpact tof tthe tcrisis ton travel tand ttourism. tWe tknow tfrom tbusiness timpact tsurveys tthat twomen-owned tbusinesses tand twomen ttourism temployees thave tbeen disproportionately timpacted tby tCOVID-19 tand ttherefore tneed tdedicated support.


Of tcourse, tCOVID-19 tstarted tout tas ta thealth tcrisis, tand timproving thealth safety tand tbuilding ttraveler tconfidence tis tthe timmediate tchallenge twhich countries tneed tto ttackle. tMs. tKimarli tFernando, tChairperson, tSri tLanka Tourism, tspoke tabout tthe tSri tLankan tgovernment’s tefforts tto tput thealth protocols tin tplace, tcommunicating twith tthe tpublic tdaily tto tinstill confidence tand tunderstanding tof tthe tguidelines. tThe tWBG tis talso supporting tthe tdevelopment tof tstandard toperating tprotocols tfor thotels and ttour toperators, tand tpublic-private tdialogue taround trecovery strategies. Governments tcontinue tto tsee tthe tneed tfor tstrong thealth tand tsanitation protocols tas tthey tseek tto tprotect ttourists tand tresidents. t


Looking tahead, tfuture ttravel twill tinevitably tlook tdifferent, tso tdata tand market tintelligence twill tbe tvital. t tWBG tteams tare tworking ton tbusiness pulse tsurveys, taviation tand tpolicy tdashboards tand tconsumer markettresearch t tall tindicating tthat tin tthe tnear tterm ttravel twill tshift tto drive tto tdestinations, tdomestic tand tproximate ttravel, tas twell tas tstrong growth tin tnature tand tadventure ttourism, thighlighting tthe tincreasing importance tconsumers tare tplacing ton tsustainability. tStimulus trecovery programs tfor ttourism tcould tfocus ton trebuilding ttourism tlocations tto tbe more tsustainable, twhich twould tcreate tjobs tin tthe trebuilding tas twell tas enhance tits tattraction.

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