The President of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), Pronab Sarkar has requested the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Home Affairs to announce the dates for the restoration of e-Visa and tourist visa and resumption of international flights at the earliest to start inbound tourism to India, which is highly stressed sector in absence of any tourists arrivals and Government stimulus package and is looking for survival.
Referring to the announcement made by Union Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director AIIMS that the vaccine will be available in a couple of months, Sarkar in his letter addressed to the Secretary Tourism and Additional Secretary (Foreigners), Ministry of Home Affairs, has mentioned, “It is imperative that our Ministry should plan for inbound tourism to start as early as possible for which 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 the opening of e-Visa 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.”
Sarkar has requested that besides announcing the dates for the opening of e-Visa and Tourist Visa, the 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 is 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 Sarkar.