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The financial package has not supported the Travel & Tourism industry

"Our revival will be a slow process," says Jyoti Mayal, President - TAAI, Vice-Chairperson- FAITH as shares her thoughts in a forthright interview with Today's Traveller.

TT Bureau: Your reaction to the financial package announced by the Govt of India?

Jyoti Mayal: The financial package though a good amount of 10 per cent of the GDP for all the rebates and reliefs, has not supported the Travel & Tourism industry. We were looking forward to a substantial rebate for statutory reliefs which we have not seen. The small reductions till now what we have seen in GST or TCS or TDS is not going to support our industry positively as only when our business revives will we have any such taxes to pay. We are still hopeful of getting a part of the bailout from the government both in statutory & in support of existence, to survive and in turn, also support our employees.

TT Bureau: The impact of Covid19 on the Travel industry in India?

Jyoti Mayal: COVID 19 has impacted everyone globally but it has deeply impacted the Aviation Travel Tourism & Hospitality Industry. Our industry in such calamities is always the first to be impacted and the last to revive. There is not going to be any business this year. Everyone is now working towards selling in 2021. Domestic business will certainly start but the demand will definitely be slow and come with a lot of challenges in the form of social distancing, safety, security & hygiene.

The industry is anticipating a loss of Rs 10 lakh crore & job loss of 3.5 crores directly or indirectly. We have been in continuous communications with the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Commerce, Niti Aayog, IATA, UFTAA & Airlines on a daily basis. We have done webinars on relevant topics of future of aviation, reinventing of domestic tourism, technology & financial support.

TT Bureau: As an association, what are you doing to address issues faced by agents like job loss, financial distress etc?

Jyoti Mayal: As TAAI is an association with our members being from all walks of the travel, tourism, hospitality & aviation industry & working in all avenues we are confronted with multiple issues. No business, cash crunch, sustaining of staff and to top it, no cash refunds from most of the airlines and the insecurity of an airline defaulting and the members suffering another huge loss as we have seen by Kingfisher & Jet Airways defaulting.

We are also anticipating consumers and clients complaining and legal issues coming into the forefront. We have been in communications with our members, interacting with them in every region/chapter and trying to resolve issues to our best ability. We are addressing all aspects head-on.

We have been in continuous dialogue with IATA not only at the India level but also bring in communication with DG IATA. For the first time, TAAI has been able to create a communication bridge with the Ministry of Aviation and we see a shift in the thinking and implementing process by MOCA recognising our existence as a part of the Aviation industry and we are hopeful they will support us to not only exist but also develop standards of transacting aviation business in this industry.

TT Bureau: What kind of Revival strategies are being planned by the travel community?

Jyoti Mayal: We have created a survival and revival document collectively with all 10 associations forming FAITH in support with the Ministry of Tourism. We have created a huge buzz in media, travel, national & electronic. The whole industry today is united and speaking in one voice.

I as President of TAAI also believe very strongly that NOW is the time to reinvent and restructure ourselves as an Industry. We need to put best practice so, ethics and code of conduct into place. We also need to relook into our contracts and re-establish our businesses from ground zero to grow in a productive positive way. We need to build consortiums and also work towards building shared resources and work in cooperation amongst ourselves.

Our revival will be a slow process. The demographic, the thought process of a traveller, business or leisure, MICE or FIT or any other will initially only be to travel if essential and also social distancing, hygiene, safety, cleanliness will be of utmost importance.

TT Bureau: Your thoughts on Domestic travel in the post Covid19 context

Jyoti Mayal: We will need to create demand, think out of the box and target the right age group. We will need to focus more on adventure, wellness & medical, solo, gastronomy, cuisine, cycle tours and create niche avenues. Domestic travel will certainly see growth. Soon we will see driving tours and once the confidence of a traveller increases he will start travelling. Neighbouring countries will benefit as flights start resuming.

We are working very closely with the Ministry of Tourism, Heritage & Culture on how to motivate demand and also setting procedures in place to open our offices with proper hygiene and sanitisation in place and also how to implement the same in promoting tourism and increasing the confidence of a traveller. Man is a social animal and we cannot be bound by boundaries and thus we are hopeful we will survive, revive and will reach back to thrive.

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