GNA University organized an International E-seminar on the theme “Invent the Future: The New Normal for Hospitality & Tourism” in collaboration with Indian Hospitality Congress (IHTC). The global pandemic COVID-19 has brought the entire world at halt. It has impacted all the sectors of the economy where hospitality and tourism industry is the hardest hit. In the post-pandemic scenario, people will re-think about their travel plans and would be selective in their travel-related choices. This will bring many ‘New Normal’ for the hospitality and tourism industry. The objective of the e-seminar was to have deliberations on the future travel business. The e-seminar was attended by over 300 academicians, research scholars and industry professions from pan India.

The e- seminar was hosted by Prof. (Dr.) Manohar Sajnani, Dean – Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism, Amity University & President – ITHC (North India Chapter) and Dr. Varinder Singh Rana, Deputy Dean, Faculty of Hospitality, GNA University & Secretary – ITHC (North India Chapter). Dr. Rana welcomed the all the eminent speakers and participants. Prof. (Dr.) Sajnani introduced the theme of e-seminar and apprised the attendees on how relevant it is to understand the changing hospitality and tourism industry.

Dr. V. K. Rattan, the Vice-Chancellor, GNA University formally welcomed all the eminent speakers and congratulated the Faculty of Hospitality, GNA University, for coming up with the idea of organizing this seminar especially during such tough times when we all are confined in our homes. He appreciated the optimistic approach of theme in such a gloomy scenario. He expressed his hope that hospitality and tourism industry will rebound much stronger after this period of darkness.

S. Gurdeep Singh Sihra, the Pro-chancellor, GNA University, expressed his concern on the impact of pandemic on hospitality and tourism industry but was hopeful that the hospitality and travel industry will surely revive as humans have basic instinct to travel. He said, “We all are waiting to travel once this lockdown ends and therefore, it is important to understand future of industry in order to motivate the potential tourists.”

Prof. (Dr.) S. P. Bansal, Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor – Himachal Pradesh Technical University and National President ITHC graced the seminar as chief guest. He put forth new business model that industry should adopt to revive back.

The first eminent speaker Mr. Ravi Ranjan Chaudhary, Executive Vice-President – Yes Bank, Finetech – Tourism, emphasized that post pandemic there would be changes in customer experience and consumption patterns. He also apprised the participants that the future of travel will involve more of digital technology in terms of payments, e-commerce, cloud computing, online education content to name a few.

The next eminent speaker Mr. Arshad Zaidi, Business owner – Arsh Tours and Former Airport Manager – Amritsar, GHA Air India, believed the industry to revive in phases with domestic tourism being the first one followed by outbound and inbound travel. He pointed out the our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narender Modi ji always emphasis on the domestic travel i.e. Sadesh Darshan.

Another eminent speaker Mr. Amit Chaudhary, Vice-President, ITW Playworx, expressed his views on revival of travel. He said that industry will revive with drive in tourism being the first one as people will drive to nearby places for weekend gateways. He believed that the another form of tourism will join the bandwagon soon.

The last speaker of the seminar was Dr. Samir Thapa – Executive Chairman – Silver Mountain School of Hotel Management, Nepal and the Director – American Hospitality Academy IHMS, USA. Dr. Thapa apprised the participants that there will be behavioural changes in tourist consumption. Food habits will change drastically, people will re-consider the decision to travel to crowded places. He also pointed out that the hotel will have to change their strand operating procedures in order to gain the confidence of the future traveller. In the last, Prof. (Dr.) Deepak Raj Gupta, Director – School of Hospitality and Tourism, University of Jammu and General Secretary – ITHC conveyed vote of thanks to all the eminent speakers and participants. He congratulated GNA University and ITHC for conducting e-seminar successfully. Prof. Gupta also expressed his view on the future of hospitality and tourism industry, wherein he pointed out that maintenance of high level of hygiene and sanitation standards will be the most important. He also advised the industry that future travellers need to be assured about their safety.