New tourism policy to be finalised soon, will cater to post-Covid visitors: Ministry
The much-delayed national policy on tourism will soon be finalized and it will have specific norms and provisions to suit the post-Covid-19 traveler, a senior official in the ministry said Monday.
The draft National Policy on Tourism was prepared by the ministry and was under review after the pandemic eased, officials said. ''Just when we were ramping up the tourism policy, the Covid-19 crisis came, bringing many challenges but it has brought opportunities also.
''The pandemic is an evolving subject which has changed tourist trends. We are now again deliberating on how the policy is shaped in keeping with the global standards to be followed in the Covid-era. We have to digitize more to reduce physical touch, make places accessible for all,'' ADG from the Union Tourism Ministry, Rupinder Brar said on the sidelines of the three-day International Tourism Mart being held here.
Some of the features of the draft policy put forth last year include a focus on employment generation, community participation, and stress on the development of tourism sustainably and responsibly.
It also talks about developing quality human resources in the tourism and hospitality sector across the spectrum of vocational to professional skills development and opportunity creation; and creating an enabling environment for investment in tourism and tourism-related infrastructure.
''A variety of different verticals have emerged such as heritage tourism, staycations, and homestays. Protocols have to be put in place for all this,'' said Brar.
The Indian Tourism Mart which aims to showcase the Northeast region as a tourist hotspot as well as boost its tourism potential as a part of government's 'look east policy,' is a way for the center to perceive the potential of the sector.
These protocols include social distancing and health and hygiene protocols to become a new norm, touchless service delivery, and investments in digital technology could be a bridge to recovery, she said.
Brar also underlined the need to focus on staycations which are becoming a way of travel in the post-covid era. Tourists are looking for open spaces and traveling in smaller groups preferably with family or close known friends as a safety measure.
She also said that some states have their policies in keeping with their strength and opportunities. While Gujarat and Karnataka have their tourism policy, the Andhra Pradesh government recently announced a new policy to revamp the outlook and give a paradigm shift to tourism in the state.
Tourism is among the industries hardest hit by the Covid crisis.
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