HOTELS NOT ALLOWING TO CHECK-IN FOREIGN TOURISTS DUE TO FEAR OF CORONAVIRUS
5th March 2020
Dr. Harsh Vardhan
Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare
Government of India
Hon’ble Minister Sir,
Sub: HOTELS NOT ALLOWING TO CHECK-IN FOREIGN TOURISTS DUE TO FEAR OF CORONAVIRUS
The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) is the National Apex Body of Tour Operators with membership of over 1600 across the country. Our membership consists of the nation’s inbound tour operators, travel agents, hotel chains, airlines, state government tourism departments/development corporations, press and media and other stake holders in the tourism & hospitality industry. The Membership of IATO controls over 90% of all inbound tourism into India from all over the world.
We have been informed by many of our members that foreign tourist groups/individuals who were booked to stay in hotels in Delhi, Agra, Haridwar, Bikaner, Udaipur and other places are not being allowed to check-in inspite of the fact that they are already in India and came much before the restriction of Visa for nationals of Italy, Iran, Japan, South Korea were made. Yesterday, there was a German group of one of our members which was supposed to check-in at Hotel in Udaipur but was refused to check-in and they had to travel to Delhi in Midnight, whereas there is no Visa restriction for German tourists. This group is already travelling in India for past 10 days.
Similarly, there are many hotels like Vasant Continental, The Grand, Delhi, The Radisson Blue, Agra, Taj Hotel and Convention Centre, Agra, Hotel Gaj Kesari, Bikaner, Indana Palace, Jodhpur etc. who have refused to honour the bookings already made by the tour operators and are creating confusion and inconvenience to foreign tourists who have already arrived in India before the Visa restrictions were made. While checking with the hotels, we have come to know that this is being done on the directives from DM of the concerned districts administration.
This all is being done in spite of the fact that there is no advisory has been issued by Ministry of Health where foreign tourists to be refused accommodation at the hotel/guest house/lodges in any part of the country.
All this is not only creating lot of panic amongst the foreign tourists but also amongst the Indian tour operators, who made the bookings, groups have arrived before the visa restrictions and now accommodation being refused to them. All this is creating a very bad image of our country and it will badly affect the tourism business for future also and may result loss of jobs in large numbers.
We appreciate the positive statement given by your good-self on TV channels yesterday 4th of March 2020, which is very encouraging and nowhere it is creating any such fear in the minds of citizens of our country.
Therefore, this needs your personal intervention and another advisory be issued clearly mentioning that all those tourists who are already in India on valid visa and the tourists who will be arriving with valid Visa with permission to enter India after thermal screening at the airport, hotels should not refuse check-in at their hotel whose bookings have been made. We suggest that a health certificate of screening at the airport can be given to the tourist after check-up which can be produced at the hotel at the time of check-in.
Would be grateful for your immediate action with the another advisory so that tourists do not suffer and there is no bad impression and negative publicity of our country and loss of future business and employment. Coverage in local media and social media is also giving negative publicity due to all such indicents.
We are sure with your above actions, there will be positive message conveyed to the foreign tourists, hotels and tour operators.
Thanking you and with best regards,
Ms. Preeti Sudan, Secretary (H&FW), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi
Mrs. Meenakshi Sharma, Director General Tourism, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India
Mrs. Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General Tourism, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India
Mr. Rakesh Kumar Verma, Joint Secretary (Tourism), Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, New Delhi