What India needs to do to save travel and tourism

What India needs to do to save travel and tourism

Enable travel in a predictable and hassle-free manner. A national committee with the Ministries of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Health along with representatives from the states and industry should be set up to prescribe and harmonise travel restrictions across India

By many accounts, the world appears to be at an inflection point in its fight against COVID-19. Over the past few months, we have simultaneously witnessed two dominant trends — the rise of new variants of concern, and rapid vaccination in several countries. In the ensuing face off, most recent evidence points to a scenario where the vaccine would be partially effective by reducing hospitalisation and mortality, but it would not wipe out COVID-19.

In such as case, the world would have to gear up for a new COVID-19 normal like the Singapore model where we would need to live with the prospect of the continuance of COVID-19, but mitigate its impact through vaccination and by taking the necessary precautions.

One of the prominent issues that the world is confronting now is vaccine inequity which would result in an asymmetrical recovery among nations with significant economic implications. Developed nations which have been able to rapidly vaccinate their population would achieve optimum levels of productivity early on, while nations with limited access to vaccines would have a delayed recovery leading to widening economic disparities.

This is likely to be reflected in the travel and tourism sector also with travel groupings like the EU Green Pass where nations are lifting restrictions for travel among themselves based on vaccination coverage and the containment of the virus, thus enabling free travel to jump start their tourism sectors. The fond hope that travel recovery would be agnostic, in the sense that those who are vaccinated would be able to travel freely, irrespective of the country that they belong to, lies belied in the current situation.

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