India travel industry players continue to make great efforts to see that tourism gets back on track once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. In the latest news, the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) President, Pronab Sarkar, requested the Government of India to announce the dates for restoration of E-Visas and Tourist Visas as well as resumption of international flight
Mr. Sarkar has requested the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Home Affairs to announce the dates for the restoration of E-Visas and Tourist Visas along with resuming international flights at the earliest to restart inbound tourism to India. Travel and tourism are highly-stressed sectors in the absence of tourist arrivals and the lack of a government stimulus package, so industry companies are looking for a way to survive.
Referring to the announcement made by Union Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, and Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director of All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), that the vaccine will be available in a couple of months, Mr. Sarkar in his letter addressed to the Secretary of Tourism and Additional Secretary (Foreigners), Ministry of Home Affairs, stated: “It is imperative that our Ministry should plan for inbound tourism to 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 Government’s plans of opening of e-Visa[s] and Tourist Visa[s] 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.”
Mr. Sarkar has requested that besides announcing the dates for opening of e-Visas and Tourist Visas, government should also announce the dates for commencement of international flights. This is very important because international tourists take at least 3 to 6 months to commence their journey for their holiday travel to India. Foreign tourists plan their tours well in advance, and they will not travel immediately.
“Once [the] above decisions are taken, it will create confidence amongst foreign tour operators and foreign tourists and will send a positive message that India is ready to receive and welcome them. If no timely actions [are] taken by us, foreign tour operators/tourists will look for other destinations, and India may lose the chance for the rest of the winter and summer season of 2021,” said Mr. Pronab Sarkar.