The World Tourism Day 2022 comes along with a very significant theme this year focusing on the opportunity to redefine how we do tourism in the near future as the sector’s recovery gets underway. The idea is to put people and the planet first and bring everyone from the public and private sectors to the host communities together around a shared vision for a more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient sector in the days to come.
International tourism continues to show signs of a strong and steady recovery from the impact of the pandemic despite significant mounting economic and geopolitical challenges. According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourism saw a strong rebound in the first five months of 2022, with almost 250 million international arrivals recorded. This compares to 77 million arrivals from January to May 2021 and means that the sector has recovered almost half (46 per cent) of pre-pandemic 2019 levels.
In the Indian context, the country’s travel trade is hopeful to reach pre-pandemic levels of business at the earliest while also focusing on sustainable and eco-sensitive practices. In conversation with ETTravelWorld, travel trade association share their views on relevance of rethinking tourism in India and need of the hour for rebuilding the industry.
Nakul Anand, Chairman, FAITH, said, “This World Tourism Day, brings forth immense promise of rethinking integrated tourism planning and action as we discussed at the State tourism Ministers’ meet keeping sustainability and responsibility at the core. This is important to bring out both the Indian tourism travel and hospitality entrepreneurs and the employees from the shadow of the pandemic.”
Whereas, Jyoti Mayal, President, TAAI, reiterated the need for sustainable policy and investment-friendly atmosphere. “As we know that the theme of this year’s WTD is ‘Rethinking Tourism’, I would like to say that sustainable development of the sector is what we need. This includes sustainable policy for our sector, infrastructure development, an investment-friendly atmosphere, and a more coordinated & collaborated approach to tackle challenges, exploit opportunities, and growth systematically. All I suggest is to hold regular dialogue with the industry and step-by-step reach a consensus and resolve issues about tourism as a whole,” she said.Rajiv Mehra, President, IATO said that the tourism industry should not feel dejected about what has not happened, instead the stakeholders should aim to create a better future with all the available opportunities. “We will bounce back very soon, recording about a 35 per cent increase in tourism business by March 2023. For that to happen, we need to start the overseas promotions immediately.
“The overcrowding at popular destinations has become a grave issue for the locals as well as the governments to handle the sudden surge of tourists. Gladly, some of the state governments are very sensitised about their public spots and are now taking initiatives to ensure that their destinations remain unharmed and if things are balanced well between the tourists’ responsibility and the state’s initiative to handle the carrying capacity, we will see new destinations coming up as well as the sustainability taking the lead,” he added.
Ajay Prakash, President, TAFI, discussing the concept behind their recently concluded convention, said, “The theme of World Tourism Day 2022 is ‘Rethinking Tourism’ and this concept was at the heart of ‘Build Back Better’- the theme of our recently concluded Convention at Kuching. As we recover from the devastation caused by the pandemic and as demand for travel revives, it is important to rethink our priorities and to build certain concepts of responsibility into our core business practices.”
“We need to be aware of our power, we need to collaborate globally and we need to leverage our collective strength. The tourism industry needs to make a determined global effort to ‘Reduce, Refuse, Recycle’ and adopt a more responsible approach to growth and development,” he asserted.