PM Modi to chair Covid review meeting

Tour operators write to PM for quarantine waiver, financial aid

India News

The Indian Association of Tour Operators has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking relaxation in travel norms and financial aid to overcome the crisis facing the industry since March 2020, which it says, has worsened after international flights were postponed because of the pandemic’s third wave.

Rajiv Mehra, president of the apex inbound tourism body with 1,700 members, wanted the seven-day quarantine to be waived for fully vaccinated travellers who produce a negative RT-PCR report 72 hours before setting off from non-high-risk countries. If found asymptomatic on arrival, such tourists should be allowed to undertake the journey. This will encourage international tourists to travel to India, and tour operators will have some business, the letter said.

The association has also urged the Centre to provide financial support to small and medium tour operators. The aid can be based on the turnover recorded in the financial year 2019-20 and 75 per cent of the wages paid, to be given as a one-time grant. This will also save lakhs of jobs, it said.

Of all the sectors in the hospitality industry, inbound tourism is the worst affected, the association said, adding that tour operators and allied sectors have lost more than Rs 1 lakh crore in revenue and thousands of jobs.

Established in 1982 as a representative association of licensed tour operators in the country, the association said this was not the first time in the past 20 months that it had written to the prime minister for help.

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