By Sandeep Arora, Head of Brightsun Travel Private Limited, India
The Indian hotel industry’s total revenue in FY2019-20 stood at Rs 1.82 lakh crore. As per our estimates, in FY2020-21, approximately 75 percent of the industry’s revenues got wiped off. That is more than Rs 1.30 lakh crore revenue hit. The hospitality sector, which was the worst affected due to Covid-induced lockdowns over the last two years, also witnessed a robust recovery with a 47.6 percent growth in payroll headcount in March, according to payroll distribution data collated by Allsec Technologies, a Quess Corp company which is a leading business services provider. But since Delhi confirmed its first case of monkeypox on July 24, 2022, a day after it was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organisation.
The Health Ministry confirmed that a 34-year-old male resident of Delhi was isolated at Lok Nayak Hospital as a suspected case of monkeypox. Post-covid India’s health system has quickly responded to any potential threat, and travel guidelines have been imposed concerning keeping caution. The clinical presentation of monkeypox resembles that of smallpox, a related orthopoxvirus infection declared eradicated worldwide in 1980. Monkeypox is less contagious than smallpox and causes less severe illness. Monkeypox typically presents clinically with fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to various medical complications. According to WHO, Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal or with material contaminated with the virus. It may be transmitted from one person to another by close contact. Hence, health officials advised masking, sanitization, and social distancing while traveling or staying at hotels.
The travel and tourism industry is still in the recovery phase post-COVID trauma, and there are severe concerns about Monkey Pox adversely impacting the travel industry yet again. The World Health Organization has determined the multi-country outbreak of monkeypox is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, in light of which India has also issued a travel advisory for international travelers after one confirmed case of the Monkeypox virus was detected in Kerala. As per the guidelines, international passengers should avoid close contact with sick people and stay away from dead animals.
The Centre also asked states to keep an eye on proper screening and testing measures for people at all entry points to prepare for the diagnosis and prevention of the disease. Since there are vaccines already available for monkeypox, there is some relief among travel and hospitality companies. However, the government is only distributing doses to people it deems to have a high risk of being exposed to the virus.