Some tourism experts in South Asian countries have suggested setting up a regional body to deal with the coronavirus epidemic. He suggested setting up a SAARC regional tourism body like the Nepal Tourism Board to help in the promotion of tourism in the country.
This was stated by the experts in a virtual interaction on 'Impact of COVID 19 on South Asian Tourism and its Rejuvenation Strategy'. He said that it was essential to strengthen regional tourism.
Former Nepal Tourism Minister Yankila Sherpa said world tourism had shrunk by more than 60 percent in the first six months of 2020. She said that more than 2600 trekking companies in Nepal are currently in a financial crisis.
She said that the potential tourism market such as Buddhist Circuit should be revived, and infrastructure development should be done by identifying new tourist destinations at the regional level. Rupa Chand, a professor at the Indian Institute of Management, also said that the South Asian Regional Tourism Corridor should be created. She also suggested paying more attention to health precautions against the coronavirus in the area to reassure tourists.
Dorjee Dhradhul, general manager of Bhutan's tourism council, urged other South Asian countries to follow Bhutan's tourism policy. Bhutan has adopted a strategy of attracting low-volume, high-value, low-volume, high-value tourists. He said the destination was still safe for hikers, adding that physical infrastructure and digital facilities should be enhanced. He urged to facilitate digital payment from anywhere. Similarly, he said that high-level service should be provided to the tourism workers by providing additional training.
Thoib Mohamed, managing director of a Maldives market management company, said countries like Sri Lanka and the Maldives should adopt a "one island, one resort" strategy. He said that countries like Bhutan and Nepal should focus on mountain tourism and trekking. Former president of the Sri Lankan Tourist Hotels Association, Srilal Mithapala, suggested that a kind of "safety certificate" could be issued to hotels across South Asia that follow the criteria to avoid corona infection.
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