Strained ties with Canada likely to hit the hospitality sector
The hospitality industry in the State is gravely concerned about the fragile diplomatic ties between India and Canada, especially as we approach a busy travel season. Every year, Kerala welcomes between 25,000 and 30,000 Canadian visitors.
What is the reason behind the tension between India and Canada?
- The Khalistan movement, which advocates Sikh independence, is the root of the hostilities between India and Canada. The movement, which is outlawed in India but supported by the Sikh diaspora, has been accused of being supported by Canada by India. Canada has retaliated by alleging that Indian authorities have meddled.
- Conflict levels have increased as a result of:
- Expulsions of diplomats in conflict
- Reports linking the Indian government to the murder of a Sikh activist on Canadian territory
- As the relationship deteriorates, India has warned its citizens living in Canada to be cautious. The United States has urged the two nations to work together to resolve the conflict.
- In recent years, the hostilities between India and Canada have gradually gotten worse. Trade and the sizeable Indian diaspora in Canada have historically been the driving forces behind the relationship.
How did this tension cause problems for the Tourism sector of India?
- The decline in Canadian Travelers: The most direct and immediate effect was a decrease in Canadian travellers to India. Travel warnings issued by both nations probably made Canadian tourists decide against visiting India.
- Revenue Loss: The Indian tourism sector suffered a commensurate revenue loss as a result of fewer Canadian tourists. Like tourists from many Western nations, visitors from Canada often spend a lot while they are there, boosting the regional economy.
- Impact on Kerala: Kerala was severely impacted, as was previously indicated because it receives a sizable number of Canadian tourists each year. In Kerala, the hospitality industry had trouble filling reservations and making money during what should have been the busiest travel period.
- Unfavourable Image: Travelers from Canada and other nations may have an unfavourable perception of India as a tourism destination as a result of the diplomatic conflict and the publication of travel advisories. Such unfavourable opinions may affect tourism in the long run.
- Uncertainty and Cancellations: Hesitancy and cancellations among foreign tourists may have resulted from the diplomatic relations’ uncertainty. Travellers might have been worried about the region’s security and stability.
- Impact on Tour Operators: Indian tourism-focused tour operators and travel agencies may have encountered difficulties marketing and selling their packages, which has negatively impacted their company and profitability.
- Long-term Effects: Even if the diplomatic issues are settled, the incident may still have long-term effects by discouraging future travellers from Canada and other nations. Travelers frequently rely on their choices for stability and safety.
How can we revive the tourism sector during this slow season?
- Diplomatic Dialogue: Direct diplomatic negotiations between the two nations are necessary to address the underlying causes of the dispute. Meetings between senior government figures, such as foreign ministers or heads of state, can aid in facilitating this conversation.
- Conflict mediation: If necessary, both nations could enlist the aid of a mediator to help expedite negotiations and uncover points of agreement. This role might be played by international organizations or reliable diplomatic allies.
- Clear Communication: The two governments must communicate openly and transparently. To clear up misunderstandings and false impressions, information that is clear and correct should be disseminated.
- Issue Resolution: Focus on resolving the particular problems that caused the stress. In this instance, it is important to focus on resolving the allegations and issues surrounding the Khalistan movement as well as any underlying problems.
- Confidence-Building Actions: Take confidence-boosting actions to reestablish trust between the two nations. This could involve cooperative projects in areas of interest to both parties, educational initiatives, or cultural exchanges.
- Public diplomacy: Take part in public diplomacy activities to enhance both countries’ perceptions of one another. Positive stories about the past, present, and prospects for cooperation might lessen hostilities.
In conclusion, the incident between India and Canada had a direct and indirect effect on the country’s tourism industry, resulting in a drop in visitor numbers, income losses, and possibly long-term effects on the perception of the nation as a desirable travel destination. To reverse these impacts, diplomatic tensions must be reduced and commercial strategies must be successful.