IATO raises issues affecting revival of inbound tourism; seeks help in getting refund from Jet Airways
IATO has requested the government to remove hurdles which are creating hindrances in revival of inbound tourism to our country and also has requested to help in in getting refund of Travel Agents from Jet Airways.
Rajiv Mehra, President, IATO, in his communication to the Ministry of Tourism, has requested the Tourism Minister to impress upon the Government to withdraw requirement of submission of self-declaration form on the online Air Suvida Portal for foreign nationals. Presently all foreign tourists who intend to visit our country need to submit a self-declaration form and attach documents which foreign tourists especially the elder person find very difficult. “Due to this reason, many foreign tourists reported to have been offloaded which is giving negative publicity and now many tourists are skipping to travel to India. On one hand we are looking to bring more foreign tourists to India and on other hand, we are making it difficult for tourists to consider India as a destination by creating hindrances. Now under the present situation, many countries have abolished all hurdles to attract more tourists. This is high time that when situation is much better now we should consider removing such hurdles for foreigners,” Mehra pointed out.
Similarly, in a letter to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Mehra, has brought to the knowledge the foreign travellers are facing while travelling in India due to compulsory Web Check-in forced by all the domestic airlines. In his letter to the MoCA, Mehra has mentioned that basic purpose of web check-in is to avoid rush at the baggage counters but the very purpose of the same is defeated as all travellers have to stand in queue for handing over check-in baggage as there are no separate queues or counters for those who have already done the web check-in. “Also airlines are charging Rs. 200/- per traveller who have not done the web check-in. IATO has requested that directives should be issued to all the domestic airlines, not to make it compulsory for the travellers to do web check-in and facility of issuing Boarding Pass should be available from the airline check-in counters at the airport for those who have not done web check-in. It is the responsibility of the airline to issue boarding pass and baggage tag to the air travellers, hence there should not be any additional charges of Rs 200 for the boarding pass,” he said.
In an another letter, IATO has also raised an issue of pending refunds of the travel agents from Jet Airways for over two years. While welcoming the resumption of Jet Airways Flight operation in the next quarter of this year (July-September 2022) for which DGCA has granted Jet Airways its air operator’s certificate (AOC), officially paving the way for the grounded airline to take to the skies once again, Mehra has written to the DGCA that large amounts is lying with Jet Airways accounts for over two years towards the amount paid by the ticketing agents which Jet Airways has not refunded in spite of repeated reminders by the agents. In addition to this, advance deposits towards group bookings made by the travel agents for the ticketing of groups are also with Jet Airways.
IATO has requested that Operation of Jet Airways flights should be kept in abeyance till the time refunds are made to the travel agents whose funds are lying with Jet Airways. “It should be made compulsory for all the airlines operating in India to give bank guarantee / financial security to be kept with DGCA or an appropriate Statutory body to protect the interest of travel agents/tour operators/airline travellers in a situation when an airline goes bankrupt or ceases to operate like in the case of Jet Airways , Kingfisher and several other airlines in the past,” he said.