COVID-19 Coronavirus Impact on India Tourism and Travel
The world, or at least most of it, is battling with the dreaded COVID-19 coronavirus, which has taken thousands of lives in many countries.
Precaution and prevention are the key words to keep this virus from spreading. Staying away from crowds and keeping hands clean are some of the measures suggested and being taken.
But India, unique in many ways, has a unique issue in dealing with this virus.
Many parts of the country celebrate Holi – a festival of colors – during this time of the year. Holi takes place in the next few days, when traditionally people greet others with color, water, and exchange sweets and other eats with gusto.
But this year, the celebrations will be cut down to a minimum because of the threat of COVID-19 spreading.
Even the President and Prime Minister of India, who are active during Holi, have decided not to be part of such celebrations. Others, too, will follow. The traders selling colors are not happy and feel that the fear is being overdone, as their businesses are being hit.
Tourism and Travel are taking hits
The Mughal Garden in the Presidents house is being closed to the public to avoid crowds from gathering.
With the Coronavirus spreading its harmful symptoms on people across Europe, China, and India, the idyllic state of Sikkim has put a blanket ban on issue of the Inner Line permit to foreigners, for access to Nathu La pass which borders China. The ban holds for nationals from Bhutan as well.
Scores of overseas tourists have cancelled their bookings to Darjeeling and Sikkim in the last few days. These were foreign travelers from the United States of America, France, Germany, Japan, and China.
Despite several flight cancellations, staff at the Health Ministry’s Airport Health Organization has been screenings as many as 80,000 international arrivals on a daily basis.
Indian Tour Operators are hoping to boost domestic tourism within India while having to cancel bookings made by Japanese, Chinese, European, and other tourists who were to travel into India.
International music concerts and tours are being cancelled because of the virus scare. The Festival of Colors Holi as mentioned above.
Several Tech Companies are encouraging Teleconferencing and Video Calls to enable employees to effectively work from home.
The external Affairs Ministry has been at the forefront of managing the stay and movement of Japanese and Chinese nationals to and from India. At the same time, screening of individuals and treatment if found positive is what has kept the Print and Electronic Media channels busy as they buzzed about the dos and don’ts of attempting to ward off catching COVID-19.