The Hotel Management Department of Gujranwala Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology (GGNIMT), Ghumar Mandi organized a one-day Symposium on “Impact  of Covid -19 on Hospitality Industry and its Future Prospects”

Prof. Manjit Singh Chabbra , Director GGNIMT welcomed the virtual gathering  and said that Hospitality is among the hardest hit due to fears of community spread through travel and social gatherings. Many of the events, conferences and sports events have been cancelled or postponed, he added.  He  opined that in future even after the crisis, the fear of infection will persist but hopefully that time and effective policies in place will soon set  the future for the hospitality industry sound.

Dr. S. P Singh , President, Gujranwala Khalsa Educational Council & former Vice chancellor , GNDU delivered the presidential remarks. He highlighted that according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the COVID-19 pandemic would reduce 50 million jobs worldwide in the travel and tourism industry. He added that this would lead to a gloomy future for the hotel industry and it could take years to fully recover even after the covid-19 outbreak is over. He said this discussion platform intends to draw an understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on Hospitality industry and its future prospectus.

“Business risks can never be eliminated completely but being careful about them can be the hallmark of proactive management”, said Dr.Tahir Sufi, Professor & Deputy Director, Amity School of Hospitality, Amity University, Noida  while delivering his expert talk on the topic: Crisis Management and Resilience Planning following COVID-19 in Hospitality Sector address.

He added that hotels are one of the hardest-hit industries by COVID-19 because of massive cancellations of flights, tours, events and hotel reservations. He elaborated on Cost Cutting(C), Orderliness (O), Virtualization (V), Integration (I) and Domestication (D)  as the Hotel Surival Strategy to reduce the impact of COVID-19.

Chef Suksham Mehra , professor, YMCA Ansal University, Gurgaon  spoke on “Career & Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Hospitality Industry”.  He outlined that the hotel industry had to deal with different crises and viruses in previous years also. “The SARS virus impacted the industry drastically in 2003. There was a 50% decline in hotel bookings, which led to a drop of nearly 9.4 million in international tourist arrivals, with losses estimated at between $30 billion and 50 billion. Despite the above-mentioned facts, the travel industry managed to register immense growth by 2006, with a total contribution of $5,160 billion to the global GDP within the year”, he added. He also said it is important to incorporate higher order skills in our students that  emphasize on crisis management, strategic thinking, conflict management,  through their academic curriculum’s so that industry can be provided with young managers with these add-on skills.

Mr. Karan Dilsher Dhaliwal, Manager F&B, J.W. Marriott, New Delhi presented a  talk on “Transformations & New Trends in Hotel Services and Upcoming Developments in Hotel Operations amid COVID-19 Era”. He mentioned that the hotel industry is showing endurance by opening up hotel facilities as quarantine centres and providing accommodation to the health care professionals. He also mentioned that the hotels in the country are opening in a phased manner , keeping health and safety as priority and by following all pandemic protocols. “The hotels must assure the nervous travelers by re calibrating standards of hygiene and safety measures”, he exhorted.

Mr. Mohan Lal Jain , Former Vice President, “India Tourism Development Corporation” & MD, Dew Drops Consultancy, New Delhi  said that Covid has impacted hospitality industry the most.  Being a people’ s  industry, person  to person  contact is  unavoidable.  He pointed out that the Guests are likely to use those establishments where covid protocols are   strictly practiced. He added that hospitality units will be required to bring transnational changes in their daily activities to ensure health and hygiene, in order to remain  in business. He also mentioned that major up gradation of  existing SOP s  and working  practices will be  needed in  the domain of  IT enabled services, Infrastructure, Automation, Procurement Storage, HR practices,                Training, Facilities on offer and  Financials.

Dr. Harpreet Singh, Principal, GGNIMT  said that there is a dire need for the Hospitality Industry to evolve , set up new business models and target domestic market to survive this pandemic. He said “Restaurants  should not be closed for public instead should be closer to public”He also added that use of technology driven services, Government policies, Integrating healthcare with hospitality services, Banking sector support and Cost effective Corona safety measures are the keys to fight the situation.  Arvinder Singh, Hony. General Secretary , GKEC presented the valedictory note. He said the ability of hotel entities to withstand the corona crisis for any longer period would hinge upon the depth of their cash reserves, the robustness of their business models, and continued support from promoters. However, he said that every new challenge is a seed where many opportunities grow and this industry is no exception. The right HR training and development, altered policies and strategic models will help industry survive this pandemic.

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