New Delhi: The fallout of the Covid-19 outbreak and 21-day lockdown to combat the pandemic on the country’s tourism and hospitality industry could be devastating and affect the lives of millions, according to industry experts.
Such experts say that the industry is the most challenged sector now and millions of employees could lose their jobs in the coming days.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the coronavirus pandemic has put up to 50 million jobs in the global travel and tourism sector at risk worldwide, as international travel could be adversely impacted by up to 25% this year, which is equivalent to a loss of three months of travel.
As per WTTC, of the 50 million jobs that could be lost, Asia is expected to be the worst affected with 30 million loss of jobs in this sector. In its study on the impact of Covid-19 induced crisis on the Indian travel and tourism sector, industrial body Federation of Indian Industry (FII), too, has presented a gloomy outlook of the sector and said that more than half of the tourism and hospitality industry can be affected with a possible loss of over 20 million jobs if recovery in the industry stretches beyond October 2020.
For lakhs of those who depend on this sector for livelihood, this is indeed bad news.  It could take the industry up to 10 months to recover even after the outbreak is over. Manu P.V., a Kerala-based travel entrepreneur and secretary of Association of Tourism Trade Operation, said:  “Our estimate says that the tourism industry in Kerala will incur a direct revenue loss of Rs 20,000 crore due to the Covid outbreak. But if you count many other small, but related businesses such as auto-rickshaws, travel guides, taxi drivers, restaurants, which are solely dependent on tourists, the total loss will be much more.”
Pranab Sarkar, president of Indian Association of Tour Operators, said: “If there is no business, there will be no jobs. There is no cash flow. Earlier, agencies used to have some advance payments or some delayed payments to run the business for three to four months. But now the situation is not like that. Agencies need to pay to hotels and airlines. But they don’t have money as they are not being paid by their clients,” Sarkar said.
According to a report by HVS global consultancy firm on hospitality, the overall revenue of the Indian hotel sector is set to decline by anywhere between $8.85 billion to $10 billion.