April 26 2020:The Indian hospitality, travel and tourism industry – like counterparts in most other countries worldwide, is still reeling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and many fear, that some enterprises may never recover without massive reconstruction assistance from their respective governments.
So, it may be interesting to learn that some economies believe they have sufficiently recovered to open their countries for tourism. For the Indian industry, this comes from two neighbours – a development that may have a more direct impact:
Sri Lanka plans for an early revival of its tourism and in fact plans on opening up, albeit gradually, in coming weeks. The Daily News , Colombo reports a statement by Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando that the cabinet had approved critical five-year global promotion initiative last week and that the country was also working with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in a three-stage strategy of situation assessment, impact assessment and road mapping, to help get tourism industry back on its feet – which includes over 11,000 entities and just under 40,000 rooms.
The minister explained that the revival would involve a first stage which “ focuses on the immediate recovery of the industry, which involves changes to the visa process to include mandatory testing, adjustments to the immigration process, airport entry, hotel transfer and certification of hotels to ensure health and safety of tourists, employees and the local community.”
Rigorous health and safety activities incur costs and as such, it was recommended that a minimum pricing structure be established for accommodation, avoiding undercutting and the resulting race to the bottom.
The developments in Sri Lanka are particularly relevant to Kerala Tourism -based players. The attractions of both Kerala and SL are very similar, beaches, hill stations, health tourism. If Kerala is not agile, if it does not support and assist the industry as SL government is doing, its neighbour will scoop up the business -- and the process will take years to reverse.
China sees revival in domestic tourism
Meanwhile, in China, the upcoming May Day holiday may mark a significant milestone for recovery of the domestic tourism industry. Leading international travel services provider Trip.com Group has released its 2020 May Day Tourism Trends Report for the Chinese market, revealing a significant increase in bookings over the period, especially in the area of domestic tourism, where the company is the largest travel services provider.
According to the report, May Day is expected to mark the first peak for travel in 2020. The most popular destinations over the upcoming holiday are projected to be Sanya, Shanghai, Lijiang, Anji, Nanjing, Deqing, Hangzhou and Suzhou.
Popular tourist attractions have implemented reservation systems to keep visitor traffic below 30% of maximum capacity, and travellers have shifted their sights from inter-provincial and outbound travel to locally-oriented tourism.
Younger travellers in their teens and twenties have emerged as the driving force over the May Day holiday, comprising 57% of total bookings for the period.
“The pandemic has presented a great challenge for all of us,” said Trip.com Group Chairman James Liang. “However, travel is a resilient and important industry, and coupled with the easing of restrictions as the pandemic is contained in China, a shift towards new, innovative modes of tourism is driving promising growth over the upcoming holiday, and indicative of new heights for the industry in the near future.”