Powered By Blogger

Popular Posts

Search This Blog

Friday, March 27, 2020

Eyes beyond the Corona

It was only in movies so far that we witnessed hordes of people getting affected by viruses of a highly dangerous kind and that impacted the society like never before. Corona so far is apparently not in the same league like its counterpart in films, yet has created a scare like never before impacting global societies regardless of the economic or power strata those infected may belong to. Corona the great leveler has impacted the developed world more than the underdeveloped and has gone further in infecting many of the high and the mighty too besides the masses at large.

Lockdown, a word that was since used only with reference to industries whenever they faced an economic crisis or a labor upheaval has now become applicable to countries with many going under lockdown in the fond hope of recovering from the ghastly impact of the deadly virus of the twenty first century.  And apparently a complete lockdown that would lead to social distancing is the only solution. Perhaps if many of the nations that are presently leading the number of infections had acted as promptly and as boldly as India acted, the overall scenario might have been much more conducive.

Yet what needs to be faced would be faced and the price that would need to be paid would be paid. There is no escaping this hard reality regardless of the scale of the wealth and the power that different nations possess.

There is always light at the end of the tunnel and sooner or later we would have moved ahead of the era of the coronavirus. And why not, the resolve to successfully win this battle against the scourge of the virus is visible so boldly in India and in many other nations.

And therefore there is also a need to look beyond and initiate preparation for the same as soon as the impact of the virus starts showing a declining trend.  Often there are hidden opportunities in even the darkest of circumstances and we need to look for them even if it is akin to searching for a needle in a haystack.

Travel and tourism is one such area that has the fastest and the biggest multiplier effect on the economy and employment. With almost all international and many domestic flight curtailed across the globe, it would be some time for the traffic to pick up even after the virus passes away. I really do not see international travel reaching the pre corona levels even two to three years after complete recovery, primarily due to the apprehensions that many of us would now have whenever leaving the shores of the motherland. The impact of the corona and the almost complete shutting down of the airlines across the globe, perhaps for the first time ever is indeed a turning point in how tourism would indeed take place in the future.

And the solution lies in planning during this period for exploiting domestic tourism to the hilt, an exercise that would continue to pay rich dividends for all times to come. Let us start creating a desire to explore the richness of our own country. Let people see their own India with its finest collection of tourism destinations, hardly explored due to the false yet widely prevalent notion that tourism is generally about long distance and mostly beyond the shores travel. A very aggressive dose of publicity and promotion that has the rich culture of the nation at its core and development of tourist infrastructure like signages, interpretation, souvenir shops, last mile connectivity and way side amenities needs to be planned and quickly implemented to enable taking the full advantage of the opportunity that lies within despite the scourge of the virus. 
The transport infrastructure in the organized sector like the railways, airlines, buses would need to be very quickly brought back to life and in full swing. The lull period can be utilized in carrying out thorough maintenance of the fixed infrastructure, improving passenger facilities in the moving or flying infrastructure and carrying out much needed systemic improvements that almost all organizations vie for. We need to appreciate that despite the restrictions that corona has imposed on human beings, such blatant freedom to maintain and improve the generally very heavily utilized infrastructure would hardly ever surface in future. Obviously easier said than done, yet the moot point remains that this exercise should remain on the radar and genuine efforts can be made to find ways and means to do that.

Similar strategy needs to be examined for other industrial establishments, factories and service sectors. This is the time, and a very precious one at that for carrying out improvements that otherwise would not be possible for availability of infrastructure in an unutilized state.

Let us all remain positive, for positivity is the biggest asset especially in a downcast scenario. And we are blessed by a government that is doing the best that is possible and acting in a manner that is the envy of even the developed world. And that gives many of us the confidence that together we shall overcome the challenge of the present times and emerge much stronger in the future.