Letter from Secretary (Tourism) , Govt. of India
10th July, 2018
To All Members,
Sub : - Letter from Secretary (Tourism) , Govt. of India
The newly elected Executive Committee of IATO took over the charge from 28th April, 2018 and since the date, put all efforts to ensure all pending issues are taken up with the concerned authorities for expeditious settlement. Also various new initiatives were taken in the best interest of members.
AN UPDATE ON ACTIVITIES IS GIVEN AS UNDER:
NEW EC TEAM CALLED ON THE HON’BLE MINISTER OF TOURISM: Newly elected Executive Committee members with IATO President called on Hon’ble Minister in his chamber, introduced themselves to Minister and assurance was also given of full support of IATO in all new initiatives taken by the Ministry of Tourism under the leadership of Hon’ble Tourism Minister. A consolidated note on the pending issues was also given to Hon’ble Minister to seek his kind assistance for settlement of the issues. Hon’ble Minister was also updated on IATO Convention and requested Hon’ble Minister’s presence. He has assured his presence. Similarly new committee also called on Secretary (T), JS (T) and ADG (T) and sought their guidance on various related matters where IATO need support. This was also opportunity to invite them in person for IATO’s forth coming Annual Convention in September 2018.
IATO CONVENTION: 34th IATO Annual Convention will take place from 6 - 8 September 2018 and the Convention will be held at Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh.) In the interest of members, the Registration fee which was earlier Rs 7500/-was reduced to Rs 4500/- so that more members can join this event. Membership well appreciated this gesture by the new committee.
PENDING ISSUES WITH MINISTRY OF TOURISM, GOVT. OF INDIA
- MDA: Long pending reimbursement of MDA cases were discussed and Ministry was requested to arrange to settle these old cases at the earliest. On the follow up, over 50 cases were settled. While on this subject, in the meeting the emergent issue of minimum 5% growth in tourist arrivals, a major clause for settlement of reimbursement of MDA claims was raised. How even to maintain 5% increase became difficult due to economic recession in global traffic markets was also pointed out. The necessity to withdraw this clause which is an impediment for submission of claim was raised for consideration. Follow up letters have been addressed in the matter.
- TOUR OPERATORS APPROVAL AND MOT RECOGNITION: Since the business operation styles have changed and more and more tour operators are operating from home and business is more on online and through digital technology, the set guidelines of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India need immediate revision. The old guidelines of minimum areas of office space, minimum 2 trained staff in office either holding Tourism Degree or Diplomas from IITTM or any universities where tourism is taught, have become defunct. Thus immediate need is for revising the approval guidelines. Letter to this effect has also been addressed to Secretary (Tourism)
INDIA TOURISM MART: The above mart dates have been finalized ie from 16th-18th September, 2018 and FAITH has been given the responsibility for necessary arrangements for its successful operation. IATO will play a leading role in this event and member’s cooperation will be needed. Members are requested to block these dates.
GST ISSUES: Ministry was requested to take up this pending issues with GST council as no positive response received till date. This is negatively impacting the business operation of our members. As IATO, regular follow up is being done and we expect some positive outcome may be there.
REVISION OF THE FINANCIAL SANCTIONS: For the hospitality guests of the Ministry of Tourism and handled by IATO members, Ministry was informed that the rates for hotels, transport, guides etc were decided as early as in 2014 and since then there is progressive increase in rates but the rates were not revised by the Ministry. For better facilitation and service quality, members request for revising the rates for handling hospitality guests may kindly be given priority attention. ADG (Tourism) has agreed to look into this matter and IATO’s recommendation will be given due weightage.
ROAD SHOWS: Already one Road show took place in Asian Region where IATO members participated. Recently is USA Road Show also got completed. These Road Shows took place from 17th June to 22nd June, Covering: New York, Houston, Chicago, St. Louis. Revised Road shows dates for Russia and Nordic countries (August) covering: Moscow, Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm. Australia and New Zealand are yet to be announced. 2nd one for China has been announced will take place from 26th-30th August covering Beijing, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Shanghai (Circular also issued to members)
IATO NEWSLETTER: IATO Newsletter with new Editorial team came out in May 2018. The second issue is also out and have been circulated to members.
MEETINGS: Till now total 32 meetings were attended in the Ministry of Tourism by EC members wherein IATO inputs have been well appreciated.
- President IATO attended special meeting on ‘Adopt a Heritage Monuments’ on 24th April at Hotel Samrat. Meeting was chaired by Hon’ble Minister of Tourism. Mr Alphons
- President IATO was also invited as guest speaker and Panelist in North East Meet at Itanagar where in IATO’s observations on the bottleneck areas to attract foreign tourists were deliberated.
- President IATO was the guest speaker at Tourism workshop held at Hotel Shangrila on 6th June and participated in the deliberations on boosting tourism to India.
EC MEETINGS was held on 3rd May, 9th May, 23rd May and 11th June, 2018 respectively and lot of decision were taken on (i) Formation of new sub-committees (ii) FAITH related issues (iii) Membership issues (iv) Newsletter (v) Website update (vi) Training Programme etc.
NEW MEMBERS: During the period April- June, 2018 membership was accorded approval by EC.
In the month of May: Active -1, Allied – 15
In the month of June: Allied to Active – 5, Allied – 17
NOTICE FOR TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP: Notice sent to members who had defaulted in paying membership fees for last 2 years.
IATO Hony. Secretary Mr. Rajesh Mudgill represented IATO in the Joint working group meeting with Nepal Government 6th July, 2018 and updated the committee on areas of mutual cooperation needed to boost two-way traffic between India and Nepal. Indian delegation was led by Mr. Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
IATO took up the matter related to visa fees with Secretary (Tourism) and raised the problems which are faced by tour operators overseas Visa fees are increased without prior notice and how all arrangements are disturbed which may lead to cancellations. Ministry of External Affairs may be impressed upon to keep the increase in visa fees in abeyance till the target of 20 million tourists by 2020 is achieved.
The recent poll titled “The World’s Most Dangerous Countries for Women 2018 by Thomson Reuters Foundation in Conde Nest Traveller, wherein India has been listed as the most dangerous country for women. How much negative reports have been damaging country’s image and tourism business was brought to the notice of Hon’ble Tourism Minister and Secretary (Tourism) so that such reports are counter challenged by the Ministry, updates are given to Press, all overseas tourist offices who in turn can inform the travel trade and Media in respective countries. All such efforts should be done on top priority to rekindle confidence in the minds of tourists who all had expressed concern about Safety of Women in India. Our President letter had really impacted well as our Secretary (Tourism) immediately addressed her letter to all concerned. Copy of the letter is also attached which our members can send if any of their overseas tour operators express concern making a reference of the Thomson Reuters Foundation Report (attached for easy reference)
IATO efforts will continue to serve the best interest of members.