New Delhi: Days after opening hotels, restaurants and historic monuments, the Central government is planning to reopen banquet halls across the country at half capacity. An announcement to this effect was made by Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel. Also Read - Unlock 3: Himachal Pradesh Relaxes Lockdown Norms For Tourists, Streamlines Issuance of E-passes

Speaking at a webinar organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the minister assured the hospitality industry of his support to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the tourism sector has faced severe challenges due to coronavirus. Also Read - Unlock 3: With COVID Guidelines in Place, Weekly Markets Reopen in Delhi After 5 Months

“We have been able to give some help to the industry in the best way possible. We have been able to open all the monuments, hotels and soon we will be able to open the banquet halls in half capacity. We have been able to revive air travel to a certain extent and we will continue to increase it,” the minister said. Also Read - Restricting Inter-State Movement Violates Central Unlock Guidelines, MHA Writes to States

The minister further added that the coronavirus pandemic has opened new opportunities for development and getting all stakeholders together to fight against the situation.

Saying that the tourism industry is a pivotal sector for the development of the economy, he said the country has immense opportunities to increase wellness tourism in the country.

“We need to hand-hold and collaborate so that the tourism industry bounces back more smoothly,” Patel said.

Notably, the Centre had on July 2 allowed historic monuments to reopen in the country from July 6. In a big boost to the travel and tourism industry, Union Minister Prahlad Patel had announced that all monuments across India will reopen on July 6, including those where religious events take place.

“The Centre has decided that all monuments can be opened with complete precautions from 6th July,” Patel had said, adding that the decision will also be taken in compliance with individual state and district administrations.