Centre prepares measures to revive tourism sector post-COVID-19 pandemic

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Recognition of travel agents, tour operators, tourist transport operators by the ministry of tourism has been extended automatically by six months as part the programme

The Union Ministry of Culture and Tourism has prepared measures to overcome the crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic in the tourism sector.

Accordingly, detailed operational guidelines for COVID safety and hygiene have been prepared in order to create awareness, training and assessment of compliance of the guidelines. The programme is aimed at building the capacity of the hospitality industry particularly small and medium units to restart and grow their business, the tourism ministry said.

The arrival of foreign tourists stopped in March after the national lockdown was declared in the country after the outbreak of the pandemic.  

The ministry said that operational recommendations for hotels, restaurants, B&Bs/home stays and tourism service providers have been formulated and issued in June this year to facilitate smooth resumption of business.

The government also said that validity of approval or certifications of hotels and other accommodation units whose project approval/re-approval and classification/re-classification have expired/were likely to expire, has been extended upto till September 30.

The ministry developed an initiative called SAATHI (System for Assessment, Awareness & Training for Hospitality Industry), for effective implementation of guidelines/standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued with reference to COVID 19 and beyond for safe operations of hotels, restaurants, B&Bs and other units.

Recognition of travel agents, tour operators, tourist transport operators by the ministry of tourism has been extended automatically by six months. Those who have submitted applications for recognition by the Ministry have been given provisional recognition for six months, pending completion of required procedures, the ministry said.

The guidelines for offering financial assistance to stakeholders under the marketing development assistance scheme are in the process of revision with the objective of enhancing the scope and reach of the scheme.

The ministry had launched the Dekho Apna Desh (DAD) initiative in January 2020. DAD is promoted extensively on social media accounts and website of the ministry and by domestic India Tourism offices. Under this initiative, the ministry carries out series of webinars showcasing the diverse culture, heritage, destinations and tourism products of the country.

The ministry has focussed on domestic tourism through a number of innovative steps like promotion of products, festivals, cuisines etc of the country on its social media handles.

It is also organising activities to promote the concept of Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat. It has commissioned aerial photography of several cities during the lock down to promote these destinations.

Similarly, the last mile connectivity is being targeted by viability gap funding through RCS-UDAN and discussions with the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) regarding improving road connectivity to important tourist destinations.

The ministry has planned a detailed strategy to utilise technology to the fullest extent to overcome the setback created by the pandemic.

Incredible India digital platform, in collaboration with Google, features a variety of 360 degree walk-throughs and stories for prominent tourist attractions across the country.

“Digital media will be utilised fully to promote and spread awareness about the tourist destinations and activities and involve people to prepare them for their visits when the situation becomes normal. Incredible India Web Portal and mobile app is further being enriched with content and tourist friendly features offering a high degree of personalization,” the ministry said.

Image credit: India Today

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