Nisha Verma

40% destinations ease travel restrictions: UNWTO

According to the latest analysis from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), 40% of all destinations worldwide have now eased the restrictions they placed on international tourism in response to COVID-19. This latest outlook, recorded on 19 July, is up from 22% of destinations that had eased restrictions on travel by 15 June and the 3% previously observed by 15 May. It confirms the trend of a slow but continuous adaptation and responsible restart of international tourism.

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OTOAI asks embassies to issue Gratis Visas for all unused visas

OTOAI has recently written a letter to almost all European Embassies in India, requesting them to issue Gratis Visas to those travellers, who despite having a valid travel visa, could not undertake the planned holiday. Riaz Munshi, President, OTOAI, says, “OTOAI has written to most of the European Embassy requesting them to issue a Gratis Visa to the visitors who despite having paid and processed the Visa fee and due procedure, could not undertake the journey for reasons known to all of us.”

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Odisha hotel industry appeals RBI to extend moratorium period

On behalf of the hotel industry of Odisha, J K Mohanty, MHCIMA, Chairman – Hotel & Restaurant Association of Odisha & IATO Eastern Region, has written a letter to Reserve Bank of India, to extend the moratorium period up to March 2021 and exempt hoteliers from payment of interest during this period as it is not possible to pay interest without earning. He also expressed his gratitude to RBI for announcing immediate action to avoid the crisis by allowing relief on loan moratorium on interest and principal repayment for a period three months and later extended to six months.

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Air India warns agents against overcharging for VBM flights

Air India, in a circular, has written to the travel agents against overcharging for the Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) flights. The national carrier has recently opened the Vande Bharat Mission flight booking for travel agents and other OTAs. Now, they have warned travel agents against overcharging for VBM flights and said that if any agents found doing the same, they will lose their authority to sell Air India tickets. Air India has asked passengers to check fares on https://bit.ly/309voT7 and not overpay for Vande Bharat Mission flights.

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MOT to start work on uniformity in protocols for all states

Since different states in the country have different SOPS, guidelines and quarantine rules, there is a need for uniformity and common protocols across the country, so that people don’t have a fear in travelling, says Meenakshi Sharma, Director General, Tourism. “We need to start working towards making the state governments agree to it. If we start now, may be in 2-3 weeks’ time, we can have some consensus, and even ICMR and Ministry of Health might come up with suggestions on the request of MOT and the industry.”

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Rs. 15,00,000 crore at risk to tourism

Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality and cause partner AIRDA has further revised upwards it’s value at risk to Indian tourism to rupees 15 lakh crores. FAITH’s first guidance which was calculated and was shared with the Government in March 2020 had put tourism’s economic value at risk at rupees five lakh crores from this pandemic. FAITH revised this further during the quarter as the situation deteriorated and the value at risk was put at rupees 10 lakh crores. This has been revised again to touch a value at risk of up to rupees 15 lakh crores in terms of the economic output of tourism in India The direct and indirect economic impact of Tourism industry in India is approximately estimated at ~ 10 per cent of India’s GDP.  This roughly puts the full-year economic multiplier value of tourism in India at ~ rupees 20 lakh crores. Minimum three quarters of tourism will be fully impacted. This value covers the whole tourism value chain from airlines, travel agents, hotels, tour operators, tourism destinations restaurants, tourist transportation, tourist guides. Each of these segments of tourism is non-performing or under performing and will stay that way for many months of this year.

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Ashwani Lohani is the new CEO, Services Business at GMR Group

Ashwani Lohani, Former CMD Air India and Chairman of the Railway Board, has joined as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for GMR Group’s Services Business (which includes railways). Lohani had recently joined as the Chairman of Andhra Pradesh Tourism Board. The latest move could be a good news for GMR, as it was looking at expanding its wings in the Railways sector by showing its interests in the private train project, station redevelopment plans and dedicated freight corridors (DFC).

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Tourism, hospitality, aviation and MSME worst-hit by COVID: RBI

According to an RBI survey, the aviation, automobiles, construction, MSME, and tourism & hospitality sectors would be the hardest-hit by COVID-19 pandemic. The bank carried out a systemic risk survey ‘to capture the perceptions of experts, including market participants, on the major risks faced by the financial system’.  Within the tourism sector, around 90 per cent of the respondents stated that the ‘prospects of recovery within the sector in the next 6 months appear bleak’. The aviation sector appears to be a close second, with nearly 85 per cent of the respondents categorising the prospects as grim. The results of the survey were published in its financial stability report released recently. It mentioned that the above-mentioned five sectors are adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Respondents said that “while most sectors face sizeable and immediate revenue losses, the adverse impact is seen in sectors where consumption spending is discretionary in nature”.

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MOT’s provisional recognition certificate to all tour operators

Ministry of Tourism (MOT) has decided that provisional certificates can be issued in favour of all categories of Tour Operators (Inbound, Domestic, Adventure) / Travel Agencies / Tourist Transport Operators who have submitted fresh applications, complete in all respects and have also made the required payment for grant of recognition as a new case. This has been done at this time, when physical inspection of office premises of applicants is not being undertaken by the Inspection Committee headed by the Regional Director, India tourism Offices in India. The Provisional Certificate would be valid for a period of six months from the date of submission of complete fresh application or till the time of actual physical verification / inspection and subsequent final decision of the Ministry with reference to grant of recognition, whichever is earlier. However, such Tour Operators/ Travel Agencies / Tourist Transport Operators who are issued  Provisional Certificates, shall not be eligible for any financial benefits under MDA or any other scheme of the Ministry, till such time a final decision regarding grant of  recognition is taken by the Ministry.

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‘Selling Happiness’ today at 11 am

The Selling Happiness webinar, powered by TravTalk, is all set to be held today at 11 am. The hour-long session will help agents understand how to make the best Indian itineraries inclusive of Yoga, wellness, spirituality, Ayurveda and meditation. To register, log on to https://event.webinarjam.com/register/153/yy8npbg9 or email to jaspreet.kaur@ddppl.com or call +919650196532.

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