The travel and tourism industry and government in India need to work together for the growth of the sector, the worst affected by disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Booking Holdings President and CEO Glenn D Fogel said on Wednesday.
Booking Holdings provides online travel and related services to customers and partners in over 220 countries and territories through consumer-facing brands, including Booking.com, Rentalcars.com, among others.
"The industry and the government can work together to create what's great for the entire community...There'll be tremendous growth in all areas of travel. There's no part of travel that won't grow in the long run, how fast it grows, of course will be dependent on a lot of issues, one of which is the government," Fogel said at the virtual Economic Times Global Business Summit.
"The draft National Tourism policy 2.0 is a great start. The government recognises that it can help build up an industry," he added.
However, the draft policy does not talk about the role of online travel agencies, he said.
"The draft of the tourism proposals doesn't seem to be talking about people like us, the online travel agencies, which I think can add a great deal of help in bringing travel and tourism to India, so I really would like to continue to work closely with the Indian government to help make the industry incredibly big as it should be," Fogel said.
When asked about his prediction for the industry, he said the journey for the sector will continue to be a roller-coaster ride.
"Sometimes it's going to be really good and great, and sometimes people will get all scared and not travel. It will all depend on the levels of the infection," he added.
Talking about layoffs in Booking Holdings, Fogel said the company had to let go about 25 per cent of its employees.
"We did have to restructure the organisation, we'll talk publicly about this...Approximately about 25 per cent of our employees, unfortunately will have to go on to other things...," he said.
"It's incredibly sad, but I know there's a future for all of us. This pandemic will end at some point and economies will come back," he added.
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