April angst

By: |
April 11, 2016 3:26 PM

The situation looks rather challenging especially for Indian tour operators working as inbound tourism consultants and experts

201604etw02The situation looks rather challenging especially for Indian tour operators working as inbound tourism consultants and experts. Though the PMO gives out positive messages with respect to tourism, the ground reality seems otherwise. Business has been damp and depressing and tour operators sound highly dejected with the situation. To further add to the woes, the government has taken a decision to  increase monument fees for international tourists at both Category A and Category B ASI protected monuments.

The team at IATO recently went through several and serious rounds of negotiations to revise the proposed monument fee hike which was issued by CAG. However, the meeting was successful in bringing down the entry fee to some extent. The meeting was concluded with decisions to increase entry fees for Category B monuments from Rs 100 to Rs 200 instead of the previously decided amount of Rs 300. A premium ticket will be introduced at Rs 300 with some value additions. Similarly, for Category A monuments, there will be increase from Rs 250 to Rs 500 instead of Rs 750; a premium ticket will cost Rs 750 with similar value additions. These new rates will be effective April 1, 2016. The good news is that the government is promising to offer tourist facilities at these sites through the PPP model, which is the need of the hour. We can only wait in the wings to see the dawn of what’s promised, like improved toilet facilities, food counters, etc.

Our cover story this month draws attention to the fact that our country is rich in splendid architectural marvels in form of the temple structures. These spots are not only places for pilgrim tourism but also attractive for the curious and discerning traveller who wants to observe and explore the intricacies in  art and architecture. All we need is a little care and concern so that such tourism zones can be converted into quality experiences and not stressful visits.

Looking ahead, we hope the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) to be held from April 25-28 in Dubai brings some cheer to the Indian travel trade.

Reema Lokesh


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