The India Association of Tour Operators (IATO) expressed its sincere gratitude to the Government of India for the decision to resume regular international flight operations from March 27, 2022.
According to Mr. Rajiv Mehra, President of IATO: “Even though the decision was on the cards, still it is a big relief for the entire travel and tourism fraternity, and we look forward to the revival of international tourism in the country. Further, to enhance the foreign tourist flow to the country, we urge the government to restore all visas that were issued earlier but were suspended due to pandemic.
“Besides [this], we appeal to the government to resume multiple entry visa and e-Visa for the countries which have been barred particularly from the source markets like UK, Canada, etc. We also request the government to extend the validity of [the] free tourist visa till March 31, 2024, without capping of 5 lakh free tourist visas.”
The President of the Confederation of Tourism Professionals and past President of the Indian Association of Tour Operators, Subhash Goyal, said: “On behalf of the Confederation of Tourism Professionals and the entire aviation and tourism industry, I would like to thank our Honorable Civil Aviation Minister, Sh. Jyotiraditya Scindia Ji; the Civil Aviation Secretary; Honorable Tourism Minister; Honorable Tourism Secretary; and the entire Tourism Ministry and DGCA for having finally announced the starting of the scheduled international flights from 27th of this month.
“I am sure e-Visa for all the countries of the world would also be resumed soon, and we will start promoting our beautiful country in a big way.
“The entire aviation and tourism industry including tourist taxi drivers, tourist guides, small tour operators, vendors selling souvenirs to the tourists, [and] artisans have suffered for more than 2 years. A lot of them have gone bankrupt and others are hanging on [by] a thin thread. This announcement has come as a light at the end of the tunnel, and we are confident that inbound tourism to India, will bounce back in a big way, and between October to December this year, we should be near the pre-COVID levels.
“The airfares will also substantially reduce, [and] hopefully, the fuel price may start coming down once the war situation between Ukraine and Russia becomes easy. With the opening of skies we look forward to India becoming the aviation hub as announced by Honorable Civil Aviation Minister, Sh. Jyotiraditya Scindia ji.
“In 2019, India earned 30 billion dollars in foreign exchange from inbound international tourism, and we hope that this amount will become 50 billion dollars in the next 2 years, and the millions of people who had lost their jobs will again be re-employed.”
Vishal Suri, Managing Director of SOTC Travel, had this to say on the recent announcement by the Ministry of Civil Aviation: “The opening of India’s skies is a critical pivot in the industry’s road to recovery. The recent announcement by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) to resume scheduled commercial international passenger services with effect from March 27 will hence provide much needed relief for the sector, more so as it comes during India’s key booking season for the spring and summer school vacations.”