MIAMI – According to Indian Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola, nearly 65% of domestic air travel has returned to pre-COVID-19 levels. The Secretary also said a strategy to bring the tourism industry back to its feet now needs to be established.
Kharola made the statements during a webinar on ‘Aviation and Tourism-the Way Ahead’ organized by the Indian Tourism & Hospitality Association Federation (FAITH). According to economictimes.indiatimes.com, Kharola also said that air travel had become a favored mode of travel as a secure means of transport during the pandemic.
“On the first day of resumption of domestic air services (May 25) there were 79,000 people who would travel and we were worried. But gradually it started improving.”. Specifically, Kharola said that a total of 2.50 lakh passengers traveled on domestic flights last Friday.
As a result, given that the average number of passengers per day was about 3.70-3.75 lakh before the pandemic hit the country, nearly 65% of domestic travel is back to the pre-COVID-19 stage.
Up to 90% in 2-3 Months
According to the report, the Secretary also said that this could go up to 90% in the next 2-3 months or almost to the level of normalcy as more business activities and colleges open up. As business travel demand will take time to return, Kharola further stated it would be segments such as VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives) pushing aviation demand forward.
“Aviation is going towards normal. This normalcy ought to be brought in tourism industry also. Tourist destinations have already opened up, the ASI has opened up the monuments. Now is the time to convince people that it is safe to travel,” Kharola said.
“So we all have to work together and evolve a strategy to motivate that domestic tourism also picks up,” he said, adding that other countries should also consider granting tourist visas again at the same time.
Featured image: Max Langley/Airways