Andhra Pradesh

Travel and Tourism sector reeling under negative growth

Tours and Travel Associations of Andhra urge Chief Minister to announce a stimulus package to bail out the sector.  

Despite contributing close to 10% to the GDP, the travel and tourism is among the worst-hit sectors ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sector is estimated to be seeing a negative growth for the past 17 months, starting even before the pandemic had struck India, without a ray of hope in the near future.

In the State, the sector had seen a negative growth of about 83% from April to December 2020, during the first wave of the pandemic which worsened during the second wave, despite the State government announcing some proactive steps, according to industry captains.

“As per a McKinsey report, the recovery of the sector to the 2019 level may kick-start as late as 2024,” said K. Vijay Mohan, president, Tours and Travel Associations of Andhra.

The sector is looking at bankruptcies, closure of businesses and mass unemployment.

On the verge of closure

In a letter addressed to Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, the association pointed out that with no income and lack of proper support both from State and Central governments, banks were not giving loans and there was no fund to maintain offices and pay salaries.

“It is estimated that about 50% of the travel agents have almost become bankrupt and are on the verge of closing down their businesses, and if the situation continues 90% of them will go out of trade by year-end,” opined Mr. Vijay Mohan.

According to him, the travel agents in the State employed close to 6,000 persons and 95% of the jobs were under threat.

The association members urged the Chief Minister to come out with some stimulus package to bail out the travel sector.

Bailout package

“We have asked the Chief Minister to constitute a committee with officials from the Tourism and Finance Departments and stakeholders and design a financial package to bail out travel agents,” said Mr. Vijay Mohan.

Other concessions sought include waiver of power bills, deferment of property tax for the years 2020 and 21, exemption from inter-State road taxes and intra-city tax for tourist buses and notifying tourism as a priority for vaccination.

Hoping that the second wave would subside soon, the association members demanded that the government give industry status to travel sector, declare 2022 as the year of visit to Andhra Pradesh, open up beaches with a shack policy and private zones for foreigners. They also wanted Vizag to be declared as the first open sky airport in the country and gateway destination with visa on arrival facility and promote it as a religious tourist destination.

Other measures such as starting night safari at the Vizag zoo and opening of midnight restaurants could augment the prospects of the sector, they said.


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 12:14:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/travel-and-tourism-sector-reeling-under-negative-growth/article34801227.ece

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