Tourism Ministry calls for new tourism circuits

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New Delhi, Nov 6 (UNI) The Tourism Ministry today asked Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) and Hotel Association of India (HAI) to bring up new tourism circuits to minimise the impact of the global meltdown.

The suggestion was made by Tourism Secretary Sujit Banerjee in a meeting with the associations as part of the continuation of a dialogue with the stakeholders in the tourism sector in India to assess the impact of the global meltdown.

Earlier, the seven-member IATO delegation, led by its President Vijay Thakur, expressed their concern on the ongoing global financial crisis but assured that they would work in close cooperation with the Government to meet the challenges in the coming months.

The Tour Operators welcomed the suggestion given by the Tourism Secretary to the hoteliers to slash room tariffs in his meeting yesterday. The reduced room tariffs, they said, would send a right signal to the traveller coming to India from across the globe.

The Tourism Secretary urged the tour operators to promote international as well as domestic tourism in a big way and focus on new circuits such as Puri-Bhubaneswar-Konark, Amritsar-Kurukshetra- Haridwar, Nasik-Aurangabad-Nanded and Dwarka-Gir-Diu at par with Golden Triangle circuit of Delhi-Agra-Jaipur.

He also emphasised the need for aggressive marketing and assured that the Government was ready to give all possible assistance to tour operators under its Market Development Assistance (MDA) scheme to sustain the growth of tourism in India. He asked Tour Operators to submit a Strategy Paper to the ministry to chalk out a common action plan to meet the challenges in the wake of global financial crisis.

The Tour Operators drew the attention of the Government towards some of the problems being faced by them. They wanted removal of luxury tax on hotels, easing of service tax and revival of airlines commission for agents.

In his meeting with Hotel Association of India (HAI), Mr Banerjee reiterated his suggestion to slash room tariffs by 10 to 15 per cent to meet the challenges posed by the global economic meltdown. The suggestion was conveyed to HAI President Priya Paul when she called on him here today. Mrs Paul assured that she would ask the members to consider the suggestion regarding room tariffs and formulate their response soon.

The HAI delegation urged the Government for delinking of hotels from real estate and take steps for boosting liquidity for hotel construction activity in the country. The Tourism Secretary assured the delegation that his Ministry will extend all possible assistance to the hotel industry for its growth in the country.

UNI KAS PK HT1847

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