The travel and tourism industry wants the government and the nodal ministry, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India to finalise its overseas destination marketing plans as early as possible in view of the country opening its borders and e-Tourist Visa facilities for international travellers.
Although the Tourism Ministry officials have repeatedly assured the industry that the department is ready with the marketing plans to be launched as and when the government decides to open the borders for International tourists, the delay in finalising tolling out the marketing plans is seen as lack of preparedness on the part of the government.
Meanwhile, the Ministry in a recent interaction with the industry associations have learnt to have assured to launch extensive marketing in key source markets in a week or two. This will include both digital and other traditional marketing, according to sources.
The negative coverage that the air pollution in Delhi has received across international media in recent weeks also calls for proper corrective measures, the industry feels.
The industry also asked the Ministry to press with the government the need to be more flexible on the e-Tourist Visa policy and reinstate the facilities that were there in the pre-pandemic period. The government while restarting the e-Tourist Visa facilities have reduced the validity of the visa to 30 days and made it single entry.
Apart from the private industry, even people in the diplomatic corps also pointed out issues with the restrictions in the e-Visa regime including the single entry restriction. The High Commissioner of India in Australia, Manpreet Vohra, in a recent seminar suggested a more flexible e-Visa regime saying people who have been travel-starved for two years now will be looking for longer vacations and to two or more countries in a region when they venture out.
While important source markets like the UK and Canada are excluded from the list of countries eligible for e-Tourist visa, the industry is hopeful that the government will certainly review it at least to include the UK in the changed scenario.
Meanwhile, the pressure is also mounting on the government to open up skies for scheduled international operations. There are reports that members of the parliamentary committees associated with transport and tourism have asked for resumption of international scheduled flights as the air bubble system is making people bear huge costs to travel abroad for jobs, studies, etc.