More than 4.36 crore workers from Tamil Nadu’s once-thriving tourism industry have been hit very badly due to the COVID-19 lockdown since March last year.
Sources in the state Tourism Department said many have lost their jobs due to the lack of business after hotels and restaurants closed down due to the lockdowns.
The tourism industry has been affected across other parts of the country as well, even before the lockdown due to COVID-19, because of the overall economic slowdown during 2020-21.
“A significant number of jobs were lost in the tourism sector once the lockdown was implemented. Overall, 21.5 million jobs have been lost in the first three quarters of the last financial year,” the Tourism Ministry said during the ongoing monsoon session of the Parliament.
In Tamil Nadu (TN), the tourism industry is looking at the state as well as the Centre for support and is demanding that the tourism industry be reopened once again. A study by the tourism industry says that it will take at least two years for the industry to return to the original state in TN as well as in other states.
The TN government has issued an order constituting a committee to come up with a revival plan for the tourism sector and suggest COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for tourists in the state. The director of tourism will be the chairperson of the 16-membered panel.
The director has been asked to convene a committee meeting, following COVID-19 protocols in force, to come up with a revival plan for the tourism sector and also suggest COVID-19 SoPs for tourists in TN and submit the same to the government.
The government’s decision followed a proposal from the Commissioner of Tourism for constituting such a panel.
The Commissioner, in a communication, said, “Domestic tourists may start arriving once tourist places are permitted to open. If tourist places are permitted to open, inter and intra-district movement of tourists will resume. This movement will help restart and sustain the tourism activities at tourist destinations. Tourists should be permitted only in strict compliance with COVID-19 protocol and SoPs. This will create confidence among tourists who would like to travel to Tamil Nadu”.
In another communication, the director said, “Looking at the current scenario of COVID-19 crisis, it may take some time for the tourism industry to recover. The easing of travel restrictions and reopening of tourism activities will benefit all sections of people.”