‘Announce dates for visa, flight restoration’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 23, 2020 Published on November 23, 2020

Foreign tourists plan their travel well in advance istockphoto   -  istockphoto

This will help inbound tour operators plan for 2021: IATO

The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) has urged the government to announce the dates for restoration of eVisa and tourist visa and for normalisation of International flights or prepare a roadmap with tentative dates. Such a move will not only send a positive signal to international tourists about India being ready and prepared to receive them but will also allow inbound tour operators to plan ahead for 2021, said the industry body.

The travel and hospitality segment has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic. The industry body said “now that the Government is close to finding a vaccine for Covid 19”, this fuels high hopes amongst inbound tour operators about resumption of their business.

Early planning is key

In a statement, Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, said, “To save tourism jobs and the industry, it is imperative that the plan for inbound tourism should start as early as possible for which the Ministry of Tourism and the stakeholders should start international marketing. This can only be possible if the industry stakeholders know of the Government’s plans of opening eVisa and Tourist Visa and resumption of international flights, so that accordingly we can inform our foreign tour operators and clients and they can promote India as a safe destination well in advance”.

He said the government should also announce dates for commencement of international flights. “This is very important because international tourists take 3-6 months to commence their holiday travel to any destination. Foreign tourists plan their tours well in advance and they will not travel immediately,” he added.

The industry body said that if no timely action is taken by the government, India could lose out on potential tourists for the rest of the winter and summer season of 2021 as foreign tour operators or tourists will look for other destinations.

“IATO also requests the government that in order for inbound tour operators to start global marketing campaign along with the Ministry of Tourism, the Government should immediately announce SEIS scrips for the financial year 2019-20 that have been held up by the Government at this critical time, when tour operators are in dire need of funds,” IATO added in its statement.

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Published on November 23, 2020
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