Hazel Jain

PM asks Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi to create tourist route map

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a review meeting on the progress of Kashi Vishwanath Dham Project in Varanasi, has directed the Kashi Vishwanath Trust to prepare a route map with appropriate tourist guides to help pilgrims who visit the complex. He also said that all old temples which were unearthed during the development of the Kashi Vishwanath Parisar should be protected and preserved. Help of experts should be taken to maintain their historical and architectural legacy. Carbon dating should be conducted so that these temples and their importance is highlighted to the tourists and pilgrims who visit the temple.

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Shillong to push tourism with a new product – ‘isolated cottages’

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma recently inaugurated ‘isolated cottages’ called Orchid Log Houses in New Shillong Township funded under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.  He said, “The idea is to adapt to the changing situation. It is important that we have cottages that are isolated but have good infrastructure.” However, Meghalaya is currently closed for all tourists.

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TAAI working on insurance product that will protect travel agents

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has been working on creating a product that will help protect agents. Jay Bhatia, Vice President, TAAI, says, “Yes, the TAAI team has already worked on the options as to how an insurance cover/deposit/ financial security to protect agents/customers from airline defaults, suspension, bankruptcy, non-depositing of statutory taxes like TDS, etc can be charged on the ticket or submitted by the airlines/IATA or otherwise. An insurance charge/levy on the ticket, if worked on, shall be a win-win for the airlines and agents, whereby agents’ financial security will also not be required and their working capital shall also be enhanced,” he says, adding that this will create a better working environment and a level-playing field.

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MOT to relax norms for approval of tour operators; allow them to shift office premises

The Ministry of Tourism will soon relax norms for the approval of tour operators. It recently received requests to allow travel agencies to shift their office premises to their respective homes given the situation. The current norms require tour operators to have a dedicated office space for MoT’s approval. Sharing details during the IATO Members Meet, Meenakshi Sharma, DG Tourism assured that prompt action will be taken to decide the new norms.

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We should continue to nurture existing source markets: Arjun Sharma

Arjun Sharma, Chairman, Select Group, has said that while we talk about tapping new source markets, Indian tour operators should also continue to nurture existing markets since they have been supporting us for a long time. Sharma says, “The traditional appeal of India lies in our traditional markets but they have to be nurtured. There may be a short-term dip, but you should approach them because they have always supported you. Instead of new markets, we need new messaging, new experiences and new products because there will be a change in the way people will travel.” He said this during the fourth edition of TravTalk Digital Conclave that was held on June 9, 2020 with the theme ‘Revenge Tourism’.

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All govt. events should be done by Indian agencies: Rajeev Jain

Rajeev Jain, Director, Rashi Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, has said that after reading the ‘Atmanirbhar’ presentation by Hon. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, he has a couple of humble wish list for the government. He says, “Our FM has stated that all tenders below Rs 200 crore will be executed by Indian companies only. This is a good decision and will definitely increase our economic power. But I feel all government events should be done by Indian agencies only. Further, the Central government should allocate resources to state governments annually to conduct events for public awareness and welfare, and these should be executed locally. I believe 2021 will be the silver lining of the dark clouds for the entire industry.”  

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