With the start of 2023, another variant of COVID-19 has been spotted walking through the streets of China. Does that mean the travel industry is again in danger? Let’s explore.
We all know what happened to the travel industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, right? But with time, everything started coming back on track. By the end of 2022, we saw a tremendous increase in people travelling worldwide.
But with the start of 2023, another variant of COVID-19 has been spotted walking through the streets of China. Does that mean the travel industry is again in danger?
2022 was a good year for the travel industry. According to the tourism boards of various countries, Indian tourists have visited various countries till December 2022. According to travel companies, packages for New Year celebrations in Bangkok, Dubai, Paris, and Maldives were best sellers. At the same time, the demand for domestic air travel and hotel booking has exceeded the pre-COVID times.
Meanwhile, the increasing cases of COVID-19 and its variants in China have increased concerns in India and worldwide.
What Did The Government Do?
Given the possibility of the fourth COVID-19 wave, the central government has made RT-PCR tests mandatory for passengers coming from six countries. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that a negative COVID test report would be mandatory for passengers coming to India from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand.
According to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the current system of random COVID-19 tests of 2% of passengers arriving by international flight will go on. At the same time, India has tightened COVID-19 guidelines.
What Would Happen to the Travel Industry?
India is a huge market for travel and tourism. It is a centre for adventure, ayurveda, wellness, sports, eco-tourism, film, and religious places. India is considered an essential destination for spiritual tourism for both domestic and international tourists.
India’s constantly increasing disposable income has fueled the growth of domestic and outbound tourism.
The aviation and hotel industry is directly related to the travel industry. On the threat of COVID-19, people associated with the industry say that the booking speed may slow down due to the testing requirements.
The tourism and hospitality industry’s direct contribution to India’s GDP is expected to register an annual growth rate of 10.35% between 2019 and 2028, according to IBEF. If the fourth wave arises, then the estimates may get affected.
However, regarding the flight ban, the Health Minister of India said, ‘At present, the government has no plans to stop flights from countries where new cases have come to light. It is our endeavour to prevent the virus from entering India, and travel should also not be disrupted’.