These are unprecedented times, and such times call for unprecedented ideas. COVID-19 has changed everything, and whenever it would go it would leave us with more changes and learnings. While we all are learning and waiting for the ‘new’ normal to come, we need ideas, suggestions and advise on how to move forward. This is an initiative by TravTalk for putting new ideas that could help the industry in one way or more. Let’s make it a platform OF the industry, BY the industry, FOR the industry.
Idea: Compulsory Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits for travellers
By: Harish Chandra, Founder, Global hospitality and Tourism Professionals (GHTP)
How it can help
I believe that my idea can help in safeguarding domestic travel, tourism and hospitality industry during current COVID-19 scenario. Before 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai in 2008, guests were treated like kings. No one could dare touch them, frisk them or ask them that their luggage needs to be scanned under X-ray machines. Post 26/11, rules of the business have changed. Today, guests don’t mind spending few minutes for basic check before entering a hotel.
What can be done
In the current scenario, travel and tourism industry is contemplating various ideas to safeguard business and employment. For example, removing middle seats from aircrafts and changing the direction of seats and flights with maximum 33% occupancy. I suggest that Indian aviation industry makes it mandatory for a passenger to buy a good Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) if they wish to fly. Cost of the same can easily be included in the air ticket. It can also be pre-delivered to flier’s address in advance via Amazon or any other support chain management mode. Passenger needs to wear PPE before leaving his departure destination (home or hotel), in taxi while on the way for airport, at airport before check-in and boarding formalities, inside flight. Passenger should be allowed to remove PPE only when he reaches his final accommodation/destination (after checking in a hotel room or his residence). PPE can also be easily made available at airports. Guest just needs to wear it before entering airport. This will help in stopping the spread of contagious COVID-19 virus.
Today’s doctors are wearing the PPE and treating Covid-19 infected patients.I have more than 3.5 years of experience in handling airport operations. I had worked with Sahara Airlines (1994-1998) at Lucknow and Varanasi Airport. Senior travel, tourism and aviation industry leaders should consider my idea. Based on their thoughts, guidelines, standard policy, SOPs can be created for its successful implementation.
Few passengers may not like wearing PPE. In my opinion it should be made mandatory for all passengers in Indian flights and while they are on any other transportation media to wear it. Debates will always be there. Let’s see how we can make it happen. I am sure other countries will also appreciate this idea and will work out some solution
around it for the support of safe and healthy travel practices across the globe. Reportedly, while foreign kits may cost nearly ₹5,000, the Indian kits may cost less than ₹3,000. One-day use-and-throw PPE will be much less than ₹1,000. Cost of very good quality complete PPE kit is less than ₹1000. Cost will further go down drastically when airlines will procure them in bulk. This can be checked with ICMR and other government bodies.
Harish Chandra is the Head of IT (CTO–IT) at Sarovar Hotels and oversees the IT & Telecom needs of the existing and new hotels and the regional sales offices. With over two decades of expertise across multiple industries including the Hospitality, Aviation, IT & Telecom sectors, Chandra has worked with international and Indian hotel brands, such as InterContinental Hotels Group South West Asia Office, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), Le Royal Meridien, The Park Hotels and among other organisations, he has worked with Micros – Fidelio, Air Sahara and telecom giant, Avaya GlobalConnect (formerly known as Tata Telecom).