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IATO urges tourism Ministry to remove restrictions on foreign tourists

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on March 06, 2020

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Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) is seeking intervention from the ministry of tourism as hotels refused check-in to foreign tourists especially from countries such as Italy, South Korea, Iran, and Japan.

“In spite of the fact that all these tourists are holding a proper visa and were already travelling in India before the restrictions were announced. IATO has taken up the matter with the Tourism Ministry seeking its urgent intervention as the matter is sensitive and will hurt our image badly as a trusted destination among foreign tourists,” the industry body said in a statement.

According to an IANS report, tourists in Agra were refused entry in five-star hotels, after the district authorities had warned that the hotels would be sealed if any positive case of coronavirus was detected among tourists staying there.

IATO had urged Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Principal Secretary of Tourism and Culture Department, and the District Magistrate of Agra to issue necessary directions to all hotels in Agra to honour room bookings already made by the tour operators.

IATO has also taken up the issue of Government of Sikkim withdrawing the Inner Line Permit from March 5, 2020 for all foreign tourists. The Chief Minister of Sikkim has been approached with a request to withdraw this order and allow foreign tourists to enter Sikkim including tourists from Italy, Japan, South Korea and Iran, who have valid permission and are already in India. If need be medical checkups can be conducted locally.

The tour operators’ association has now written to the tourism ministry in this light. According to IATO President Pronab Sarkar, “The tourism ministry has assured that communication is being sent to states to see that tourists are not unnecessarily harassed. Also Health ministry is being asked to issue travel advisory for those not affected by the virus. In case of any suspect, a medical check-up can be conducted locally.”

The association has also requested the Ministry of Tourism to set up a 24x7 operational control room to assist the foreign tourists in any emergency and have an online mechanism to know whom to reach out to in case of distress.

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Published on March 06, 2020
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