Indian Association of Tour Operators president, Rajiv Mehra, said that it is crucial for those associated with the tourism and hospitality industry to get vaccinated at the earliest. The same should be conveyed to foreign tour operators to create confidence amongst them, adds Mehra
NEW DELHI: Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), which represents more than 1,600 operators for inbound tourists, on Monday appealed to its members and tourism professionals to get themselves, staff and their families to register for covid-19 for vaccination on a priority basis. India has currently opened vaccination for all citizens above 18 years of age. However, the country is dealing with vaccine shortage.
Rajiv Mehra, president, IATO said that it is crucial for the tourism and hospitality industry professionals to get vaccinated at the earliest possible and once the vaccinations is done, same should be conveyed to foreign tour operators to create confidence amongst them.
“Our international counterparts should know that we are vaccinating all our staff and the frontline workers including airport representatives, drivers, guides, escorts and tourist felicitators, hotel front office, reception and restaurant staff," he said.
The objective is to build confidence in the global travel and tourism community about India being a safe destination.
“This should be conveyed to the foreign tour operators that as soon as e-Tourist Visa and international flight operation is resumed, we are ready to welcome foreign tourists. Besides creating confidence amongst the foreign tour operators, it will also encourage them to resume business to India," he added.
Reeling under severe losses, the tourism industry has made several suggestions to the government asking for aid and sops. IATO has urged the government to take multiple steps that can help the tour operators to tide over the ongoing crisis brought by covid-19 pandemic.
The apex body has requested the government to urgently announce Service Export Incentive Scheme (SEIS) for the financial year 2019-20 which has been delayed by almost one year now. This will lead to some cash flow for tour operators which is critical for their survival.
Among financial incentives, the association seeks abolishment of levy of Tax Collection at Source (TCS) on foreign tourists as they are not liable to pay income tax in India and, therefore, cannot claim refund as they don’t have a PAN number.