IATO raises concerns on the issues creating hurdles for revival of inbound tourism

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Rajiv Mehra

Rajiv Mehra, President IATO has requested the government to remove hurdles which are creating hindrances in revival of inbound tourism to our country and also has requested to help in getting refund of travel agents from Jet Airways.

In his communication to the Ministry of Tourism, Mehra has requested the Tourism Minister to impress upon the Government to withdraw requirement of submission of self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha Portal for foreign nationals. Presently, all foreign tourists who intend to visit the country need to submit a self- declaration form and attach documents which foreign tourists especially the elder person find very difficult. Due to this, many foreign tourists reported to have been offloaded and now are skipping to travel India.

In a letter to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Mehra has brought to the knowledge the foreign travellers are facing while travelling in India due to compulsory web check-in forced by all the domestic airlines. Mehra has mentioned that basic purpose of web check-in is to avoid rush at the baggage counters but the very purpose of the same is defeated as all travelers have to stand in queue for handing over check-in baggage as there are no separate queues or counters for those who have already done the web check-in. Also airlines are charging Rs. 200/- per traveller who has not done the web check-in. Hence, IATO has requested to abolish any additional charges for the boarding pass.

In an another letter, IATO has also raised an issue of pending refunds of the travel agents from Jet Airways for over two years. Mehra has stated to DGCA that large amounts is lying with Jet Airways accounts for over two years towards the amount paid by the ticketing agents which Jet Airways has not refunded in spite of repeated reminders by the agents. In addition to this, advance deposits towards group bookings made by the travel agents for the ticketing of groups are also with Jet Airways. IATO has requested that operation of Jet Airways flights should be kept in abeyance till the time refunds are made as well as it should be made compulsory for all the airlines operating in India to give bank guarantee/ financial security to be kept with DGCA or an appropriate Statutory body to protect the interest of travel agents/tour operators/airline travellers.