Exclusive interview by Meenal Barapatre with Sidharth Jain CEO Sapphire Ventures and Director Kazin Travel Consultants LLP
Mumbai: The rapid spread of the coronavirus has affected many business sectors more particularly the Tourism Industry and hospitality industry, the worst to suffer thus leaving many famous destinations and Hotels nearly empty.
Many tourists are cancelling their tickets due to fear of this dreaded Virus.
Meenal Barapatre Associate Editor of Hello Mumbai News while expressing on the Coronavirus concerns has an exclusive interview with Tour Operator Siddharth Jain. ( CEO Sapphire Ventures and Director Kazin Travel Consultants LLP)
Siddharth Jain : Thanks for considering me for an interview against Coronavirus.
Meenal Barapatre: How has your business been affected due to Coronavirus ?
Siddharth Jain : It is not the Coronavirus which has affected the travel industry business, but it’s the fear of Coronavirus. The business has come to a near standstill.
Meenal Barapatre: How much have you lost businesswise . .?
Siddharth Jain : Travel Agents and Hoteliers are constantly receiving cancellations of already booked reservations and queries of future travel has drastically dropped by 90%. People are travelling only for essential trips. Hotels , Airlines, Travels Agents , OTA’s ..everyone one is bleeding in an already challenging business scenario. It is difficult to evaluate the losses, but it is estimated in billions of dollars.
Meenal Barapatre: How many cancellations have you received as of now due to Coronavirus ?
Siddharth Jain : Atleast 60% cancellations on already booked and paid files. Those who are travelling on future dates, just waiting and watching and may cancel if they don’t hear any positive development.
Meenal Barapatre: How you are facing this Crisis ?
Siddharth Jain :Travel Industry is already ailing with many issues and currently facing the crisis of Virus effect and introduction of TCS Tax on outbound industry. We are all looking at a very dark scenario in next few months – unless government gets proactive and helps the industry.
Meenal Barapatre: What is your appeal to the Government?
Siddharth Jain: My first Appeal to the government is to
A. organise all the Entry and Exit points of the country and have systematic administration and screening process. Authorities are unable to manage the airports and there are still long queues. Passengers are more confident on the screening process outside India than in our own country. This needs to change and government should organise the process and build confidence in public that it’s safe to travel with precautions.
B.Simultaneously, the Government should continuously run a public campaign “ life is Normal “ just take a little precautions’. They should engage public figures and leaders to spread the campaign.
C. Also the number of medical centres should be increased and present in every area of all the cities. I know it’s challenging but it is of utmost importance as public don’t know where to go for COVID consultation and care in case they see symptoms. They are even afraid to step out of homes, which is not a solution.
D. In the end, the Government should sanitize every public facility and distribute free masks at all the ticket counters of Public Transport and Medical Centres.
And on behalf of the Travel Industry it is my request the government to provide Tax Relaxation & some Incentives to the Tourism & Hospitality Industry which is most affected by the Virus outbreak. Including deferment of TCS Tax recently introduced on the outbound industry.
Exclusive interview by Meenal Barapatre