Travel trade seeks MOT support

Maharashtra travel trade got an opportunity to meet Dr Sagnik Chowdhury, Deputy Director General & Regional Director (West & Central), Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India. It was the chance for inbound and domestic agents to present their grievances to the MOT before they miss out on more business.

Hazel Jain

Dr Sagnik Chowdhury, Deputy Director General & Regional Director (West & Central), Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, has been a busy man since joining office on March 1, 2024. He has been tied up the ministry activities primarily concerned with quality and standards, as well as marketing and promotion, including meeting the various travel trade associations. He was recently invited by both TAAI and IATO Maharashtra chapters to meet their members.

Meeting with TAAI members

TAAI had invited the Incredible India team to present to their members about the approval process for travel agencies across the country. His team showcased the process of approval, and the various incentive schemes that are associated with such accreditation. “We also told them about the Incredible India tourist facilitator certification programme, which I’m sure will go a long way in emboldening and empowering their staff. One of the queries was related to the Marketing Development Assistance (MDA) scheme. We are looking into a little bit of re-aligning the MDA policies soon and rolling it out again,” he explains.

Another query was with regard to giving a holistic overview of the Incredible India Tourist Facilitator Certification (IITFC) Programme. “We have now condensed the categories from five to three: Tour Operators (Inbound, Domestic, MICE, and Adventure), Travel Agents, Tourist Transport Operators,” Dr Chowdhury said. His team has done webinars on these topics in regional languages, including Hindi, Bengali, and Odiya, apart from English, and can do in Marathi and Gujarati as well. He has also fixed meetings with other travel and hospitality trade associations as well.

IATO submits issues to MoT

The IATO Maharashtra Chapter recently conducted its chapter meeting with members in Mumbai to discuss certain issues they are facing. This includes guide charges for cruise passengers and tourist guides. They had invited Dr Chowdhury to introduce him to their members and bring to his notice these challenges. “The Ministry had taken a 705 sq mt space at ITB Berlin. We are receiving so many exciting proposals from various source markets and are looking forward towards a boom in tourism in India,” Dr Chowdhury said.

Classification of hotels

Dr Chowdhury has also been busy with the accreditation and classification and approvals of various stakeholders across the board, and across various segments of the tourism industry, which are hotels, travel agents, and tour operators. “We also have been developing destinations and aggressively so under the Swadesh Darshan 2.0 scheme where several destinations have been identified, for which we are in the process of identifying PDMCs (Project Development & Management Consultants). Once this process is done, major infrastructure development work will take place. Also, under the PRASAD and the Challenge Based Destination Development (CBDD) schemes of the MOT. These projects aim towards wholistic infrastructure development at destinations identified under the schemes,” he shared.



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