The hospitality industry is one of the worst-hit sectors due to Covid-19 worldwide. Millions of people in India depend on their livelihood on inbound and outbound tourism. The pandemic came like a disaster, forcing millions towards unemployment and several businesses shut.
In the pre-pandemic era, India has been utilising its resources to the best by rapidly developing its hospitality industry. As per the recent data available, the nation crossed the inbound tourist 10 million mark achieving annual growth of over 2 percent in 2019. However, with the unexpected arrival of the pandemic, the whole industry received a catastrophic setback. While unlocking is in the final phase and domestic tourism is pacing up, prominent Indian businessmen and Chairman of Claridges Group of Hotels — Suresh Nanda talks about the future of the hospitality industry in India post-Covid-19.
Easing of travel restrictions and bouncing back of domestic tourism
“As the restrictions on movements are eased, domestic tourism is witnessing traction,” says Suresh Nanda. He added that tourism during the pandemic across the world has introduced new policies and concepts. “Health and hygiene have become one of the utmost priorities of travellers. They are resorting towards the internet to check which of the hotels are offering the best health safety standards.” In his Claridges Hotel, he has introduced compulsory Covid screening of all employees and a strict hygiene and sanitation in all rooms and restaurants. Visitors are also checked on arrival and wearing masks is made mandatory.
The Covid-19 came as a disruption but also as an opportunity in disguise. He says that the pandemic shattered the old world order at a speed like never seen before. “Hotels and restaurants are going digital. Some of them are even introducing ultra-advanced AI and robotics enabled technologies,” says an Indian Navy Veteran.
What lies in the future?
As experts say, coronavirus is here to stay, the hospitality industry in India requires some unconventional measures to boost the sector out of the unprecedented crises. “Covid-19 and disruption in businesses came like a complete reset. As the situation is exceptional, we need some out-of-the-box ideas to restructure our businesses and hospitality is no exception,” he says.
“Although big corporates might able to infuse the investments that are required to restructure and remodel the businesses, medium and small businesses need active government support. The government can provide funds to such businesses to keep them afloat, aggregate saving by providing tax reduction and other such incentives,” he added.
While looking upon the opportunities that the future has to offer the industry, Suresh Nanda says that this time is the perfect opportunity when India can restructure its domestic tourism. While earlier, ‘suvidha’ used be the core of the industry, adding ‘suraksha’ to it will make the sunrise industry to develop at a greater pace.
Moreover, he also talked about how we can revolutionise the sector so that it can be utilised to the fullest to provide greater employability to the Indian youths, sustainable development in the tourists hot-spots, and how it can contribute towards the nation’s GDP.
An Indian Navy veteran, Suresh Nanda is an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. He is an eminent hotelier who is known for his unique hospitality philosophies and long-term business vision.