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Saturday, 08 December, 2018, 12 : 06 PM [IST]

Ministry of Tourism to issue guidelines to regulate OTAs

Guidelines to be rolled out by end of December
Ministry of Tourism, Government of India will roll out guidelines for approval of Online Travel Aggregators (OTAs) by end of this month. The approval process which is designed as a voluntary scheme has been formalised to ensure adequate safeguards customers against deficiency of services as well as punitive deterrence against it.  

As per an official release by Ministry of Tourism, the scheme for approval and re-approval of OTAs will be rolled out online with system to process applications and payments through an online platform. Tourism Ministry expects the new system will set standards towards accreditation and add value to the dependability and reliability to the aggregators in the online space operating in the organised tourism sector. 

The decision to formalise an accreditation and approval process for OTAs has been taken considering the large number of players in the online space and growing complaints about gap in promise and delivery. Allowing the market to “operate unhindered” will allow “unscrupulous players” to vitiate the market through “unethical trade practices,” the government feels.

 The approval will be for five years and renewable for five year terms further. The decision to bring in a regulatory mechanism for OTAs should also be seen in the wake of the ongoing turf war between hotel associations and OTAs across the country.  

According to reliable sources in hotel associations, the issue of selling non-recognised and substandard hospitality products by OTAs has also was raised by the Associations representatives in their meeting with the OTA representatives in Mumbai yesterday.
 
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