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    Covid no deterrent for foreign tourist arrivals yet

    India Tourism statistics 2022, published in September, showed foreign tourist arrivals decreased to 1.52 million in 2021 compared to 2.74 million in 2020. In 2019, the last full year before the curtailment of mobility and business operations, India hosted 10.93 million foreign tourists.

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    Covid no deterrent for foreign tourist arrivals yet

    By Anumeha Chaturvedi, ET BureauLast Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 10:02 AM IST

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    India Tourism statistics 2022, published in September, showed foreign tourist arrivals decreased to 1.52 million in 2021 compared to 2.74 million in 2020. In 2019, the last full year before the curtailment of mobility and business operations, India hosted 10.93 million foreign tourists.

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    ravel operators catering to inbound overseas tourists said in the absence of further curbs and going by incoming numbers, they expect the segment to reach about 40% of pre-Covid levels this fiscal year.

    They said while it's too early to assess the impact on incoming tourists from new guidelines such as mandatory RT PCR tests for international passengers arriving from China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong, they hoped the case count would remain low and that the government would not expand these guidelines to include more countries.

    Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Saturday that RT PCR tests would be made mandatory for international passengers arriving from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand. The government had also said that two per cent of passengers arriving by each international flight will be tested randomly at airports.

    “This has happened very recently and it will take some time to assess its impact. It will have an effect going forward. We are getting tourists but the inflow is not how it should be,” said Rajiv Mehra, president of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO).

    Rajeev Kohli, joint MD, Creative Travel said the five countries are not significant source markets for India but if the government decides to expand it to more countries, it would be a ‘substantial’ problem.

    “I think for the entire season that will close by March 31, we would be close to about 40% of pre Covid 2019 levels as an industry,” he added.

    Subhash Goyal, chairman of STIC Travel Group, said he hoped in 2023, the country will not only reach 2019 levels but also surpass them.

    India Tourism statistics 2022, published in September, showed foreign tourist arrivals decreased to 1.52 million in 2021 compared to 2.74 million in 2020.

    In 2019, the last full year before the curtailment of mobility and business operations, India hosted 10.93 million foreign tourists, with the number dropping 75% in 2020.

    “We have had one of the best vaccination drives in the world. We have been quite successful. It's good that we have these tests for passengers and mock drills in hospitals. It’s better to be safe than sorry,” he said. “The government should conduct tests for passengers from Nepal as well as we do for Chinese travellers from Kathmandu,” he added.

    R Parthiban, director at Delhi headquartered Swagatam Tours which has offices in Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru said things are positive but not as expected. Almost 50% of the business of Swagatam Tours comes from Italy.

    “I think it will take us another 6-8 months to get back to a pre-pandemic situation. We could do better if there are more concentrated efforts from the government to promote tourism,” he said. “E visas have been restored, and though India has not focused on tourism promotions overseas, the image of the country is good. We need to promote tourism in countries that have a potential to improve our inflow. This is the peak season," he added.

    ( Originally published on Dec 28, 2022 )

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    Indian Association Of Tour OperatorsSubhash GoyalForeign TouristCovidTravel Operators

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