TravTalk interviews Prateek Hira (CEO-Tornos) June-2020 Issue

Prateek Hira, Founding President & CEO, Tornos and Gastroutes, and Chairman – IATO Uttar Pradesh & Uttarakhand chapters, feels that COVID-19 has come as a further dampener to the already dampened inbound tourism sector of India, adding to its woes and putting the sector in a comatose-like situation.

-Manas Dwivedi

TravTalk Interviews Prateek Hira

Sharing his view on the current pandemic crippling the tourism industry in the country, especially the inbound sector, the Lucknow-based tourism entrepreneur, Prateek Hira, believes that business was already not passing through a good phase and COVID-19 pandemic has further added to the woes of tour operators. “I am particularly worried about its ripple effects that will only pop-up after this situation has ended. Tourism largely stands on the foundation of a good economy and in this case, the global economy is shaken to the core. Of course, the industry stands with the government and is supporting each step that our government has taken or intends to take further to come out of this threat, but at the same time, I have seen that governments in India often fail our industry’s expectations after such crisis have ebbed,” he said.

“It is imperative that our government simultaneously and seriously start planning the revival of inbound tourism in India, else it will be too little too late to revive inbound tourism anytime soon. ‘Fear’ and ‘perception’ will be the two key words that will have to be addressed immediately after this health emergency is dealt with, and a robust marketing campaign has to be in place to address the after-effects of COVID-19 on tourism,” Hira further said.

According to the Tornos CEO, it is indeed encouraging that India, by and large, has done very well to contain the virus and it is time to publicise this feat well internationally to gain some interest. “If not dealt with in time and efficiently, it will only complicate the matter further and not only will it prolong recovery of lost ground, but also a large chunk of market will be lost to our aggressive neighbours who are consistent and will come up with attractive opportunities,” he commented.