Recognition is the first step

The Regional Office of the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) recently conducted an online training session on its guidelines on how the travel trade can get recognised by the ministry, and how they can avail the MDA scheme which is in part a financial support.

Hazel Jain

In order to help a group of people, one has to recognise them first. Re-initiating its programme to ‘recognise’ the travel trade during this time of crisis, the Regional Ministry of Tourism Office recently conducted an exclusive webinar on the process of applying for MOT recognition for members of the Enterprising Travel Agents Association (ETAA). More than 300 members attended the event.

Venkatesan Dhattareyan, Regional Director (West & Central India), India Tourism Mumbai, Ministry of Tourism, presented the process that the tourism stakeholders need to follow to get a ‘Ministry of Tourism Recognised Service Provider’ stamp. However, there was a caveat. He began by stating, “There is a difference between recognition and registration. The MOT does not register any organisation but it recognises the existing organisations. Registrations are done by various authorities in the state and other forums. But MOT, through its guidelines, recognises the travel trade fraternity and they are called ‘MOT-recognised Service Providers’.”

It is a three-step online process on etraveltradeapproval.nic.in and the only time it goes offline is when the regional office person comes for verifying the documents. Dhattareyan said, “This is a voluntary scheme open to all bonafide tour operators to bring them in the organised sector. Application fee is `3,000 for all categories to be paid online and is valid for five years. It is also open for tourist transport operators. But, please ensure that whoever is registering is the owner or a permanent employee.”

By enrolling, agents can use the Market Development Assistance (MDA) which is in part a financial support. MDA for domestic tourism was earlier `30,000 but MOT is looking to enhance it keeping the pandemic in mind. Dhattareyan added that his Delhi team is also working on relaxing certain requirements for this programme since things have changed. For instance, many agents have given up office space and working from home. ETAA North Chapter  has also requested India Tourism to conduct a similar webinar for its members. India Tourism has another programme called the ‘Incredible India Tourist Facilitator’s Program’ which was launched in 2018.

Benefits to agents

  • Being a ‘Ministry of Tourism Recognised Service Provider’ offers great branding
  • It gives a stamp of trust to clients and thus helps in marketing
  • It allows listing of approved service providers on the Ministry website
  • Operators get preference to participate from MOT’s pavilion in domestic and international fairs
  • Approved operators can also avail financial support under Market Development Assistance
  • Approved operators get to use the Incredible India logo

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