A discussion on post pandemic situation with Mr. Deepak R. Joshi
8th Apr, 2021 | Tourism Mail Crew
Tourism sector is one of the most affected regions due to the pandemic of corona virus. Thousands of people involved in this sector have lost their jobs and many sectors such as hotels, home stays, trekking and mountaineering sector are still reviving. The arrival of tourists is also very low. Tourismmail in this context talked to Coordinator of Tourism Recovery Task Force Nepal and Former CEO of Nepal Tourism Board, Mr. Deepak R. Joshi on the situation of tourism sector after COVID-19.
How is the present status of tourism?
The present status of tourism is not so satisfactory still our industry is going through a very difficult time because tourism is a business which is dependent on the movement of the people, still there is limitation in access with the source market, still there is confusion on the travel protocols along with this a communication with the source market is not so strong. Looking at these points I can say that the present status of the tourism industry of Nepal is not so satisfactory. Nepal is slowly starting to open more in the tourism sector.
How many years may we have to wait to bring tourism back to its previous level in terms of number of visitors?
I think by 2022 we can come back to the level where we were in 2019 we can also go further beyond but it all depends on how much we put our focus on the preparedness of the destination.
Has the coronavirus discouraged probable investors in the tourism and hospitality sector?
Yes, tourism is the biggest hard hit sector among all categories of business because tourism is a business which strives and survives in a large supply chain. It is a multi dimensional sector, so many other sectors are also associated with the tourism sector for example transport, hotel industry, restaurants, adventure activities and many more. So the biggest negative impact is in tourism that is the reason we often request the government and other concerned authorities to give top priority to revive the tourism sector because once tourism is revived it helps to revive other sectors as well.
Do you think government support in the face of Covid supportive enough?
It is not enough, the support that the industry is receiving is not sufficient especially our hotel industry along with airlines who have invested a lot. They need special support from the government and other sectors as well. At the same time human resources, the workers and the employees who are engaged in tourism are also seriously impacted. They have lost their jobs since there is no business. So these two categories the business segment and the worker segment have to be brought to attention to some new models to support them.
What next does the private sector pin on the government for resumption of business? What intervention is called for at this hour
There are many things the industry is looking for: on-arrival visas which is a key aspect because in every country there are no visa outlets of our country. On one side we have declared that our destinations are opened and on another side we are telling tourists to get the visas from their respective countries. In order to stop that we need to resume on-arrival visa as soon as possible.
What do you think would be the new normal and new approaches of the tourism industry globally and its effect in Nepalese tourism market?
I think especially in this post pandemic situation three key factors for a tourist to choose a destination are number one is value of the destination, the tourists are looking for nature based destinations far from human civilization. The second thing is the cost factor of the destination, due to this being a post pandemic time people expect the prices to be high due to the safety measures taken at the destinations. The final thing is safety and hygiene which is the prime concern for every tourist.
Your 5 major recommendations for the revival strategy of the tourism industry?
I think we have to chart out a concrete and smart strategy because sitting silent and hoping that tourism will revive is not a strategy. Suggestions I would like to put are number one we need to make a conducive environment inside our country, number two in every crisis coordination among key agencies and stakeholders along with coordination with the source is important. Number third is we have to identify which market to go and which segment to choose. Number four is we need to use the digital market to promote the destination throught vloggers, influencers and many more. And finally number five is we have to take safety measures so that the tourists feel safe to come to the destination.
Are you satisfied with NTBs present scope of work? Should it be restructured in line with the effect caused by Covid-19?
Nepal Tourism Board is a national tourism organization made to promote the destistinations of Nepal. The major role of NTB is to position Nepal as a premier holiday destination at the same time work for the revival of the tourism sector. In these areas the NTB is focusing and should focus more. At this time NTB along with different agencies and authorities are working really well in order to revive the tourism sector of Nepal. With that said I am satisfied with the present scope of work which is to revive the tourism sector of Nepal as fast as possible.
What is your take on tourism Associations? How should they play their role post Covid timeline?
Reviving the tourism industry is the role of every stakeholder in this sector. At this time the ministry, different organizations like NTB, department of tourism and many more have a key role to play in the revival of the tourism sector of Nepal. I think at this time confusion is never good, first make one certain message then only we can create trust in tourism generating markets. We all need to synergies our effort in rebuilding and reviving the tourism industry of Nepal.