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Thursday, 03 January, 2019, 19 : 00 PM [IST]

IATO – ITTA clash over sudden hike in transport fee

A sudden announcement of rate hike of tourist transport coaches by the Indian Tourist Transporters Association (ITTA) with effect from January 1, has ignited fresh controversy in the travel trade in the New Year. While Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) termed the hike effected by ITTA on transport services as “arbitrary”, the ITTA termed their action as just and an “end to allurement” raj.

The issue has taken a turn for the worse within couple of days of the implementation of the new rates by IITA , as the association, as alleged by the tour operators community, started deploying people at Delhi airports to verify whether all tourist coach operators are charging the renewed rates. They allege that the operators are threatened of dire consequences if they fail to chare the new rates of ITTA.  

As per sources, the Union Ministry of Tourism (MoT) has convened a meeting of the all aggrieved parties and their associations including IATO, ITTA and the Drivers Association tomorrow to discuss the issue and find a solution to the stalemate.  

Both IATO and ITTA leadership has confirmed the meeting at the behest of MoT.
When approached for comment, Rajesh Mudgil, Hony. Secretary, IATO, termed the decision of ITTA to raise the rates as “arbitrary” and questioned the “locus standi of ITTA” considering the rates are agreed upon and contracted between a tour operator and a transporter in advance. He said that ITTA should stop “arm-twisting” tactics which puts even “foreign guests” at risk at airports. Mudgill also said the action “untimely” as both association leaderships have agreed to sit together and discuss all issues on January 10 in Delhi.

Justifying the action of ITTA, Kanwarjit Singh Sawhney, Vice President, ITTA, said that tour operators have been “fooling transport operators” on allurements of “commissions and tipping” to keep the rates as low as possible. The “dirty bubble” has to burst one day, he stated.

With both sides taking strong positions, the IATO – ITTA conflict is likely to snowball into a major flashpoint in the travel industry in the coming days. With the Hotel industry – OTA issue already awaiting government intervention with FHRAI writing to MoT for mediation, the turf war between and among travel and tourism stakeholders are likely to keep the government department busy in the coming days.
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