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Hospitality sector unhappy with govt stimulus package

By Neha Alawadhi & Aneesh Phadnis
May 18, 2020 15:00 IST
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The hospitality and tourism sector is among the worst hit because of the pandemic, and is unlikely to recover any time soon as people continue to be cautious of going out in a crowded places.

In a letter addressed to the Minister of Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel, Nakul Anand, chairman of the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH), said, “The Indian tourism industry has gone into a state of disbelief and shock.”

The hospitality and tourism sector is among the worst hit because of the pandemic, and is unlikely to recover any time soon as people continue to be cautious of going out in a crowded places.

 

Online ordering of food has also been impacted as most restaurants and hotels continue to remain closed.

Tourism sites are also unlikely to see visitors any time soon.

“We are sad and disappointed that the finance minister chose to completely ignore this sector,” said Anurag Katriar, president of National Restaurant Association of India.

While FAITH claims Indian tourism, travel and hospitality comprise 10 per cent of India’s GDP, NRAI has been batting for a stimulus saying that the restaurant sector employs 7.3 million people, and is the second-largest employer after agriculture in the country.

“The hospitality industry pledges its hotel rooms to the government for accommodating the quarantined, we prepare and distribute free meals to millions of people and we support the government whenever they call for us but unfortunately we do not even figure in their list of sectors that are in desperate need of help,” said Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, vice-president, Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) and president, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India.

“We have borne the maximum brunt of this pandemic and an industry of the size of Rs 18 trillion is on the brink of collapse.

"Tourism industry  was affected even before the lockdown in February, when the international flights and visa  were cancelled.

"Lack of any mitigating announcement by the Finance Minister in the series of announcements made, only goes to show that government considers the entire sector not worthy of any attention,” said  Pronab Sarkar, president of Indian Association of Tour Operators.

"Domestic and corporate travel within the country may slightly ease up after lockdown but will be highly restricted due to fear of travel, social distancing norms, corporate travel freeze and the closure of holiday season impacting all adventure, heritage, spiritual, cruise and niche tourism segments,” said FAITH in the letter.

The body also said the meetings, incentives, exhibitions and events segment will also be severely impacted, as a result of which, all tourism service providers, hotels, travel agents, tour operators, tourist transporters, restaurants, guides will have to operate with under utilised capacities making most businesses unviable on a cash operating basis.

Photograph: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters

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Neha Alawadhi & Aneesh Phadnis in New Delhi/Mumbai
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