TAAI to meet government in bid to restart inbound tourism

Restart flights, issue visas to foreign tourists: Jyoti Mayal, TAAI


November 27, 2020

/ By / New Delhi

TAAI to meet government in bid to restart inbound tourism

Most of the hotels, like Oberoi Rajvilas in Jaipur, across the nation are ready with new safety protocols since they reopened (MIG Photos/Varsha Singh)

Eight months after lockdown was imposed and international flights banned, travel agents urge government to reopen Indian airports to flights from overseas in order to revive inbound and outbound tourism.

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Continuing its efforts to get the government to reopen the tourism sector, the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) says it hopes to meet with the officials of the ministry of civil aviation and tourism next week in order to discuss the next steps for revival of an industry that accounts for over 10 pc of the Indian GDP and employs over 120 million people, directly or indirectly.

Earlier last week, TAAI had written to both the ministries seeking reopening of tourist visa facilities for foreign visitors to India to save tourism industry in the country. Since the high season for foreign visitors to India lasts from December to March, India’s largest travel trade association has said that it is the ideal time for India to “target and open up tourist visas across all source markets.”

“Over seven months have passed and this is the right time we should ensure that the economy starts to revive,” the TAAI said in its memorandum.

“Yes, we have had a response from Ministry of Tourism & they have already started a dialogue with stake holders & we will be having deliberations on the suggested points soon, both with the MOCA & the MOT in the coming week. TAAI will keep working diligently for the progress of its members & growth of tourism,” Jyoti Mayal, president of TAAI tells Media India Group.

TAAI says that over the past four months since the lockdown was eased and hotels allowed to reopen progressively all over the nation, the tourism and hospitality industry have put in place a foolproof health and hygiene protocol to ensure safety of travellers. “Most of the hotels have opened and I believe in the last four weeks, India’s recovery had improved by 73 pc on total reservations. The share of tier-two destinations has increased to 33 pc with markets such as Dehradun, Goa, Jammu and Shimla getting the majority of the bookings. All hotels have been totally shut for more than six months and seeing how Covid-19 has affected and changed the demography of a traveller and the tourism industry, all hotels have adopted technology for smoother faceless check in along with adopting social distancing, sanitisation and hygiene,” Mayal says.

Jyoti Mayal, president TAAI & vice chairperson FAITH

She adds that the travellers are also now comfortable with staying in hotels as long as the safety protocols are rigorously followed. “As a result of the Corona virus pandemic, travel behaviour all across the globe changed, particularly in terms of the level of comfort when staying in hotels. According to a survey, 60 pc of respondents stated that they would be more comfortable staying in hotels after the coronavirus pandemic if there is increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Comparatively, only nine percent of respondents were in favour of temporarily suspending some hotel services such as spas, restaurants and other crowded services,” she says.

TAAI has also asked the government to remove quarantine for arriving international passengers and instead mounting of RT-PCR tests for coronavirus at all international airports. TAAI says that the government has already agreed to this demand and it has communicated the necessary instructions to the relevant airport authorities. TAAI has also asked that instead of making the passengers pay for the tests, the cost of testing to be borne by the airport operators.

The travel agents have also asked the government to allow Indian tourists to travel to all the destinations which allow visitors from India. It says that as India does not have any air bubble arrangement with many countries which are open to receive Indian travellers, in such cases, the government should permit Indians to travel through the existing air bubble corridors.

Mayal dispels fears over high prices for travel through air bubble flights. “Initially the fares of these flights were very high, but once the ministry started operating flights in air bubbles, the fares have become reasonable,” Mayal says.

In terms of destinations within India that are ready to receive overseas tourists, Mayal says that several states seem to be adequately prepared for inbound tourism to resume, but could do with some more marketing to promote themselves. “Many states like Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Orissa, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir are working very prominently focusing on tourism. They need to do it more effectively & certainly take inputs from us as an association,” Mayal tells Media India Group.



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