SME travel agents protest against OTAs

ProtestMore than 1000 SME tour operators and travel agents gathered at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to protest against the unethical practices by online travel agents. The Small and Medium Tourism Action Group comprised of SME travel agents argued that OTAs are killing the small and medium tour operators by selling below the cost because of foreign funding. Subhash Goyal, Immediate Past President, IATO said, “I congratulate the small and medium tour operators for starting the national movement against the unethical practices by foreign funded OTAs who are buying a hotel room for Rs 2000 and selling it for less than Rs 1000. With this type of practice none of the small operators can compete and slowly they are going bankrupt. This is a very serious situation and the government and all travel associations must look into it.” The agents said they are against the e-coupons and cash discounts offered by the OTAs to reduce actual costs and argued that funding received by OTAs are a result of black money flowing into the industry. An association of small and medium tour operators is on the cards to unite voices against the cause. The agents have requested the government to regulate all OTAs which use the dominant position of having access to funds to kill small and medium tour operators. Memorandum to this effect was sent to the Prime Minister and Tourism Ministry and various travel and tourism associations will take up a legal battle with Competition Commission of India under unfair and unethical trade practices.

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