Banquet halls to reopen soon in half capacity: Prahlad Singh Patel

Covid-19 pandemic has triggered an unprecedented crisis in the tourism ecosystem, however the crisis presents an opportunity to rethink the tourism ecosystem for a more sustainable and resilient future. Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, has said that the pandemic  opened new opportunities for development getting all the stakeholders together to fight against this situation.

“We have been able to open all the monuments, hotels and soon we will be able to open the banquet halls in half capacity. We have been able to revive the air travel to a certain extent and we will continue to increase it,” he said.

The minister was speaking at PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s 4th edition of National Talent Competition in Tourism & Hospitality Sector with the theme “Repackaging Tourism and Hospitality for New Normal”.

Patel further said, “The tourism industry is a pivotal sector for the development of the economy. We have immense opportunities to increase Wellness Tourism in the country. We need to hand-hold and collaborate so that the tourism industry bounces back more smoothly.”

Suman Billa (IAS), Director, Technical Cooperation & Silk Road Development, UNWTO, deliberated about the challenges faced in the tourism sector due to the pandemic and stated, “Globally, there will be fewer travellers this year due to which there will be a reduction in tourism revenue. This will have an adverse effect on the job markets as well. We can estimate that it will take 2-3 years for the global economy to bounce back. The tourism sector needs to have strong and robust safety and hygiene protocols in place to ensure that tourists can travel with minimum risks. It’s important to kill the anxiety in the mind of tourists and gain their confidence.”

Talking about the role of technology, he declared, “We need to assimilate technology in the hospitality sector at the same time, ensure that the hospitality experience is still in place. For India, the tourism and hospitality sector will see three phases that are survival phase; revival phase and thrive phase.”