The inbound tour operators are rejoicing after the Ministry of Home Affairs announced the re-opening of e-Tourist visa for foreigners and are ready to welcome them with all protocols in place. We speak to six experts who share their views on the industry needs to get ready for this influx and the future of foreign arrivals.
Rajiv Mehra, President, IATO
I would like to thank Hon’ble Prime Minister, Home Minister and Tourism Minister for considering our request in resuming tourist visa which Ministry of Home Affairs has declared today announcing resumption of Tourist Visa for Foreigners coming to India through chartered flights with effect from 15th October 2021 and for others from 15th November 2021. This is very encouraging for the industry and we hope that inbound tourism will start to some extent.
JatinderTaneja, Vice Chair, Pacific Asia Travel, Association (PATA) INDIA CHAPTER
This step will help drive inbound tourism in the country. I would also like to extend our sincere gratitude to Arvind Singh, Secretary, MOT and Chairman PATA India chapter, for coordinating with relevant ministries to make this possible. The timing of the decision is ideal as vaccination rate in the country is high and we are observing a steady drop in cases. These facts induce a sense of security in travellers planning to revisit or explore India. This will help us revive tourism.
EM Najeeb, Senior Vice President, IATO
This has been the request from the tourism industry, especially IATO and FAITH for the last several months. This will give the right message to the world that India is ready to receive international tourists with COVID protocols. I am glad that the GoI has taken a positive step for issuing visas. But airline operations should also get back to normal. Then only can we expect international tourists to come easily. We hope that air connections will also be streamlined.
Ravi Gosain, Vice President, IATO
I would like to thank all decision makers who made this happen on the auspicious day of 1st Navratra. It’s indeed a silver line in the dark clouds for millions of people dependent on inbound tourism and who were jobless for almost 18 months. I am hopeful, MOT will be quick in dispersing this information to all FTOs through their marketing and PR channels. Several countries are opening their borders for tourists, so we must be pro-active not to miss the opportunity to attract tourists to India.
Sunil Mishra, Hony. Treasurer, IATO
This is indeed a boon for the tourism industry that has its vital linkage effect spanning across diverse sectors of our economy. We are grateful to the MOT for their support leading to the announcements. It is imperative now to tell the world that India is safe and ready to welcome tourists with all SOPs put in place by the stakeholders of tourism in India. Thus, marketing to augment the perceived value of India needs to be stepped up in the top 30 source and emerging markets.
RajnishKaistha, Hony. Secretary, IATO
Opening of E-Tourist visas is the best news on tourism front for the inbound tourism industry, which was otherwise on-ventilator since Mar’20. IATO and all other tourism bodies worked very hard towards common goal of India opening. A word of thanks to MOT in conveying our message loud and clear that a lead time must be given, and November 15 gives us good 5 weeks to get ready with COVID SOPs in place. Our partners are equally excited to start selling India tours.
Inputs by Nisha Verma