Refund of advance payments made by the tour operators to the jungle lodges in Madhya Pradesh
2nd May 2020
Mr. Eric D’Cunha
Association of Jungle Lodges, Kanha
Pugmark Resort, Village Khatia,
Kanha National Park
Mandla, Madhya Pradesh- 481768
Dear Mr. D’Cunha,
Sub: Refund of advance payments made by the tour operators to the jungle lodges in Madhya Pradesh
We are in receipt of the enclosed circular through one of our members, issued by you on 18th March 2020 regarding Cancellation Policy of bookings made at the jungle lodges in Madhya Pradesh.
As you are aware, due to Covid-19, Tourism industry is badly hit and the scenario is completely changed post 18th March 2020.
To prevent spreading of Covid-19 in our country and safeguard the citizen, Government has issued various orders, which started on the very first day when international flights for some countries were cancelled from first week of February followed by suspension of Visa/E-Visas announced for different countries and finally cancellation of all the international and domestic flights on 25th March 2020 including sealing of states boundaries and suspension of all visa for all foreign nationals. This has put tourism industry into big loss and zero billing with no scope of generating any business and revenue for survival.
Due to the above unexpected situation, all the tour operators have come under acute financial crunch with no cash in hand and zero billing. It has become very difficult to run their organisations and pay salaries to all supporting staff and meet regular expenses.
There are now many challenges/hurdles being faced by the tourism industry and foreign tourists who had to cancel their tour to India, are asking for refund as there were no flights and no visas and tour operators have to refund the advance payments received from foreign clients. Foreign tourists for whom arrangements were made, by the respective tour operators for their clients and paid the advance payment to book the accommodation and safaris, they do not know when the situation is going to improve and they are not sure whether the same clients will travel again to India or not.
Under the present circumstances, tourism business is not going to start even after the locked down is over. Even vaccine is invented in 12 months it will take 6-12 months to vaccinate all the travellers of the world where population is in millions. Further, post Covid-19 tourism shall start again with social distancing and all passengers will have to carry a Covid-19 vaccine certificate like yellow fever for African countries. Therefore, it will not be any easy revival for tourism industry. Sustainability of tourism industry is very bleak and it may take 18 months to 24 months to start the business again.
Therefore, cancellation policy made by your association need to be changed and full refund to be made to the tour operators by all the jungle lodges immediately without any cancellation charges. This is required because the tour operators have to refund to their foreign operators and clients. Please note that as per law in foreign countries, especially in Europe, UK and USA, foreign agents need to refund the payment immediately to the client, failing foreign tour operators are liable to face legal consequences as per their laws.
Please look into this favourably and advise all the lodges to refund the advance payment to the tour operators without any cancellation charges to avoid escalating this matter with the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and Madhya Pradesh Government as we want this matter to be settled within ourselves amicably.
Looking forward to hear from you soon.
(M) 9811102111Click here to see the document