Just when the country’s tourism sector was looking at a comeback, the steep hike in aviation turbine fuel (ATF) could be a dampener. “We were hoping that life would get back to normal especially as countries across the world announced opening up in the post Covid phase. But things have once again become uncertain with the Russia-Ukraine war,” a Delhi-based-based tour operator said.
Cost of international travel is once again skyrocketing, driven by a surge in fuel prices.
Price of ATF or jet fuel has been increased by more than 18 per cent on Wednesday. PTI in a report said the increase – sixth straight this year – led to prices soaring past the Rs 1-lakh-per-kilolitre mark for the first time ever.
An average cost of a one way ticket from London to Delhi is about Rs 90,000. Some airlines are charging more than Rs 1 lakh. This is almost double of what the fares were prior to the pandemic.
Though domestic tourism has picked up significantly in the last one month, there are worries over the rise in prices.
India has also opened up international flights after two years.
The tourism sector has been the worst impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic. People with direct knowledge on this said that about 15-20 million people engaged in India’s tourism industry have been affected. Either they have lost their jobs or have gone without any pay.
About 40 million people – 8 per cent of the total employment–are directly engaged in the sector. Another 70 million are indirectly associated with tourism.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) data revealed that the tourism sector accounted for 6.8 per cent of India’s GDP in 2019.
In 2019, India earned $ 3.1 billion in foreign exchange from the period January to December and received more than 10 million tourists.
“The entire aviation and tourism industry including taxi drivers, tour guides, vendors among others have suffered like never before,” Subhash Goyal, President, former president of Indian Association of Tour Operators told India Narrative.