The deadly second wave of Covid-19 in India made a significant dent in the tourism industry, with fewer lakh tourists arriving in the country up to May 2021 as compared to the same period last year, when the outbreak had actually started, according to the government data.
Around 3.89 lakh foreign footfall, of which March alone saw more than one lakh tourists, was recorded from January to May this year as against 24.72 lakh in the same period last year.
The data analysed by CNN-News18 shows a 2% jump in Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in the first five months of 2018 and 2019. But there was a 46% drop between 2019 and 2020 for the same period, and a massive 84% fall was recorded between 2020 and 2021 up to May.
However, the arrival of foreign tourists started increasing gradually in the later part of 2020. Around 70,977 arrived in the country last November and 90,544 in the same year in December. In April, the FTA dropped to 69,442, and it decreased drastically to 13,307 in May this year.
Foreign Exchange Earnings dropped by over 76% in 2020
The percentage change in Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE) between January to December 2020 was 76.3% less as compared to the corresponding period in 2019.
Since 2010, the FEE has not reported negative growth. However, 2020 clocked a huge fall due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the ministry.
14.5 million tourism jobs lost in Q1 of 2020 alone
According to a study conducted by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) on the impact of Covid on tourism, around 14.5 million jobs were expected to have been lost in the first quarter of 2020-21. “The study observed that a significant number of jobs were lost in the tourism sector once the lockdown was implemented. 14.5 million jobs during Q1 (2020-21), 5.2 million jobs during Q2 and 1.8 million jobs during Q3 are expected to have been lost as compared to an estimated 34.8 million jobs in the pre-pandemic period of 2019-20 (direct jobs),” the ministry informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
It also suggested that due to the overall economic slowdown during 2020-21, tourism economy or tourism direct gross value added (TDGVA) saw a drop of 42.8% in Q1, 15.5% in Q2 and fall of 1.1% in Q3.
“Due to significant drop in tourist arrivals and hence tourism expenditure, during the pandemic, it is estimated that TDGVA plummeted by as much as 93.3% in Q1 of 2020-21 over its level in the same quarter of previous year. It picked up slightly to post a fall of 79.5% in Q2 and that of 64.3% in Q3,” the Ministry said.
On Monday, the ministry informed the Lok Sabha that it has not conducted any formal study to assess the state and UT-wise impact of Covid 19 pandemic on the tourism industry.
It clarified that the government has not yet announced any vaccine certification programme for foreign tourists.
According to the tourism ministry, a task force, comprising representatives from industry associations, was set up for revival of the tourism and hospitality sector in the country.