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India Tour Operators Plead for Help Now with Financial Crisis

Image courtesy of narendramodi.in

The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) has written to India Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his help to overcome the unprecedented financial crisis facing the industry since March 2020, which has further been worsened by recent postponement of international flights on account of the recent COVID-19 wave.

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The association has asked for relaxation in traveling norms and financial aid to tour operators in order to remain viable until the travel and tourism industry can be revived.

In the  letter, Rajiv Mehra, President of IATO, sought Prime Minister Modi’s help on relaxation of the 7-day quarantine for fully vaccinated international travelers coming from non-high-risk countries and who have also uploaded a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report of testing done within 72 hours prior to  undertaking the journey. IATO argues that travelers are screened on arrival at the airport in India, undergo thermal screening, and if no symptoms are found, they should be allowed to leave the airport. This will encourage some international travelers to travel to India, and tour operators might have some business that is so important right now for survival.

IATO is urging the government to provide financial support to small- and medium-sized tour operators to tide them over during this crisis.

This can be done based on the turnover recorded by the operator in 2019-20 with 75% of the wages paid in the financial year 2019-20 to be given as a one-time grant. This one-time grant would not only help stop closure of tour operators’ offices but would also save thousands of jobs.

All of the sectors in the hospitality industry and inbound tourism are the worst affected, and tour operators and allied sectors in India have collectively lost a more than 100,000 crore rupees of revenue. Consequently, thousands of jobs have already been lost. Some substantial relief is, therefore, urgently being sought from the government.

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Anil Mathur - eTN India

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