According to a comprehensive report by FICCI, the sector witnessed a staggering 56% reduction in revenue in 2020 due to Covid19. This stark decline translated into the loss of over 5 crore jobs, predominantly within the informal sector. Moreover, the industry finds itself grappling with evolving consumerism driving traveler preferences and sustainability demands. Traditional tourism hubs are facing stiff competition from emerging destinations, and travelers now seek more personalized and unique experiences. To remain globally competitive, the Indian tourism industry must undergo a profound transformation.
The cornerstone of this transformation lies in the strategic upskilling and reskilling of the industry’s workforce. According to the latest India Skills Report, over 50% of the Indian workforce requires immediate reskilling to remain relevant in the job market; this imperative applies equally to the tourism sector. Here are 5 initiatives that can become the harbinger of the change:
Enhancing Digital Literacy: The COVID-19 pandemic hastened the adoption of digital technologies within the tourism sector. Online bookings, virtual tours, and contactless payments became the norm. It’s imperative that tourism professionals become proficient in using these tools and platforms. Investment in digital literacy training equips them with the skills to navigate the digital landscape adeptly and thereby help their customers.
Cultural Sensitivity and Diversity Training: India’s rich and diverse cultural tapestry is one of its greatest assets. To cater effectively to a global audience, tourism professionals must undergo cultural sensitivity and diversity training. This entails understanding the nuances of various cultures, languages, and traditions to offer a warm, enjoyable, and respectful experience to all customers.
Sustainability and Eco-Tourism: As environmental concerns gain momentum, there is increased interest amongst tourists for eco-friendly and sustainable travel options. Upskilling programs focused on sustainability practices, eco-tourism, and responsible tourism empower the industry to minimize its environmental impact and meet the evolving demands of travelers.Customer Service Excellence: Outstanding customer service can make or break a tourist’s experience. Training programs that emphasize customer service skills, including communication, problem-solving, and empathy, can lead to higher guest satisfaction and foster repeat business.Safety and Health Protocols: The pandemic underscored the importance of safety and health protocols in the tourism industry. Training in hygiene, sanitation, and emergency response procedures is vital to reassure travelers and ensure their well-being.
The impact of upskilling and reskilling on the Indian tourism industry cannot be overstated. As per the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the tourism sector is projected to contribute 10.4% to India’s GDP by 2028. A skilled and adaptable workforce shall ensure enhanced competitiveness and shall position the Indian tourism industry as a formidable global player. With improved digital literacy, cultural sensitivity, and customer service skills, tourism professionals can provide tourists with unforgettable and personalized experiences, thereby increasing guest satisfaction and encouraging repeat visits. Enhanced sustainability practices and eco-tourism can help the industry reduce its environmental footprint and appeal to conscious travelers who seek responsible tourism options.
Upskilling and reskilling initiatives in the Indian tourism industry are not merely investments in human capital; they are catalysts for positive change. With strategic collaboration among the government, industry associations, and educational institutions, the industry can emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before. By nurturing a skilled and responsive workforce, the Indian tourism industry is poised to usher in a new era of growth, prosperity, and global recognition, making it a vital pillar of the nation’s economic landscape.
The writer is the Founder and CEO of TeamLease EdTech