In an interaction with the Hon’ble Minister of Tourism which was organised by the Ministry of Tourism on Monday, 10th of August, 2020 on a virtual platform to discuss the revival of Tourism sector post-COVID, Subhash Goyal, Honorary General Secretary-FAITH made the following suggestions on behalf of the Indian Tourism Industry which the Hon’ble Minister agreed to consider favourably:-
- Goyal suggested that India Tourism Mart (ITM) will be held at the end of November 2020. According to Goyal “This will help in promoting India to the tour operators all over the world. In the last two years, we had 250 buyers, this year in the virtual mart we hope to interact with more than 500 leading travel agents and tour operators from all over the world”.
- Goyal thanked the Hon’ble Tourism Minister for agreeing to organise a joint meeting of the Indian travel agents and tour operators with the Hon’ble Minister of Civil Aviation, Hardeep Singh Puri to sort out the pending issues of the tourism industry with Civil Aviation.
- He suggested that since there is no quarantine for those passengers who have taken a negative COVID test 96 hours before, the Ministry of Tourism should aggressively market India as a safe & hygienic destination in all international electronic media and social platforms.
- FAITH also suggested for better coordination an Inter-Ministerial Task Force be formed chaired by the Tourism Minister consisting of mainly with Tourism, Civil Aviation, Commerce, Home, External Affairs & Railways along with the members of the tourism industry.
An Inter-State Task Force should also be formed which should include all State Tourism Secretaries.
- A uniform interstate quarantine policy be made because in many states, if you go by air you are quarantined and if you go by road you are not quarantined.
- Incentive be given on Domestic travel, conferences & events. The Incentives, that are given on business conferences and events, should also be extended to e-conferences, social events and film production events.
- All tour operators recognised by the MOT, should be allowed to operate LTC tours. LTC benefits should also be given for religious, adventure and educational tours within India for domestic tourism to restart all hotels & bars, not only in Delhi but all over India immediately maintaining strict health safety protocols.
- For the revival of tourism, while the KV Kamath Committee takes time to give its recommendations, it is very important that the moratorium on bank loans of hotels, tour operators and tourist transporters should be extended by another 3-6 months immediately as the due date is 1st of September.
- All liquor licences, tourist permits and tourist visas should automatically be extended by one year without any charges.
- Air India should play a leading role in reviving domestic tourism by working in partnership with all the IATA travel agents and tour operators and should not undercut or undermine them in any way.
Finally, Goyal thanked the Hon’ble Minister-Tourism for agreeing to consider FAITH’s suggestion for increasing the restrictions for meeting & conferences, to 300 indoors and to 500 outdoors. As it was seen in the inauguration of the Ram Mandir by the Hon’ble PM that maintaining the social distance, outdoor events with 500 people can be easily organised.