Open Letter to the policy makers for reopening travel and tourism after lock down- 29052020

Mumbai- Sanjiv Agarwal, Publisher and Editor, Travel News Digest, Founder and CEO, Fairfest Media – Organizers of TTF India’s oldest and largest travel trade show network wrote an Open Letter to the policy makers for reopening travel and tourism after lock down. He wrote that It is heartening and somewhat reassuring that flights and gradually the train services are being restarted. As per the present announcements domestic flight operations are restarting and international will start soon.

Likewise, Hotels must be allowed to start from 1 June, as the present lockdown 4.0 ends on 31 May. There is no scientific basis for not allowing hotels to reopen.

As mentioned in my last letter, tourism is undertaken by informed citizens with disposable incomes. They are generally educated people aware of the risks, dos and don’ts. Most of them have health insurance and the tourism industry can make it a mandatory requirement in view of the present situation.

However, to restart domestic tourism activities effectively, the States must not impose requirements of quarantining, etc. After all it is one country and nowhere else these kinds of requirements have been put within a country. The States putting such restrictions may lose markets and face legal challenges as well, as the Constitution of India guarantees its citizen free movement of people, which automatically becomes effective the day lockdown ends i.e. 1 June 2020.

European countries are emphasising on stimulating their tourism economies in a big way. They are opening up travel within Europe and will be starting international flights very soon. Indian Government would do well to not go back to a restrictive Visa regime and require any sort of quarantine, not to miss on inbound travel of international tourists.

As international flights to and from India starts, the outbound travel will also restart. Countries eying Indian markets must take care to restore the status quo ante for Indian travelers and not put them under any special risk category, as the infection rate in India is one of the lowest in the world.

As the new evidence makes it clearer everyday, the Coronavirus is another self-limiting SARS epidemic with similar risks for most travellers except the very old and sick who have a greater risk. The average risks are no more than many other diseases, or the risk of accidents inherent in travel. Medical doctors and scientists all over the world are converging on an average risk of 0.3% (three in a thousand) deaths in those who do get the infection. However unfortunate that may seem, we live and travel every day with that kind of risk due to several other viruses and bacteria, leave alone the risk of dying of travel accidents – that too are in the same range.

Hope with some good sense and luck we bounce back in the next season, with a new level of hygiene and vigour.

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