Indian Association of Tour Operators' (IATO) executive committee recently has a meeting with Minister of Tourism Dr Mahesh Sharma and officials from tourism department and ASI to discuss the 300 per cent increase in entry fees for ASI monuments
Indian Association of Tour Operators’ (IATO) executive committee recently had a meeting with Minister of Tourism Dr Mahesh Sharma; Vinod Zutshi, secretary, tourism; Narendra Kumar Sinha, secretary, culture; Dr Rakesh Tewari, director general, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI); Navneet Soni, OSD to Minister of Culture; B Purushottam, personal secretary to Minister of Tourism and Culture; and Suman Billa, joint secretary, tourism to discuss the 300 per cent increase in entry fees for ASI monuments. 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. Whereas, 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; premium ticket will cost Rs 750 with similar value additions. These new rates will be effective from April 1, 2016.
Dr Sharma has also assured IATO that all the ASI monuments will have separate counters and queues to enter for those having ticket in category A of Rs 500 and above and in category B of Rs 200 and above by April 15, 2016. Alongside, other facilities include clean toilets and fast food outlets will also be introduced on PPP model. A detailed notification in this regard yet to be received and IATO will circulate the copy of the notification once it is received. IATO has also other points were also discussed with the minister and he has assured speedy decisions on all pending issues.
ASI’s original decision to increase the entry fees by 300 per cent was objected by IATO in meetings with Dr Sharma and officials from tourism department and ASI, wherein IATO requested for the fees to be increased rationally in a phased manner. IATO had argued that fees were increased exorbitantly which will prove as a setback for the Indian tourism industry.