Category Archives: MOT

MOT formulates guidelines for approval of Online Travel Aggregators

The Ministry of Tourism (MOT) has formulated the guidelines for approval/re-approval of Online Travel Aggregators (OTAs). The scheme is expected to 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. This is a voluntary scheme open to bonafide online travel aggregators to bring them on a common platform in the organised sector and the guidelines will be rolled out online by year end. There are several players in the OTA segment operating now without any accreditation/validation. One of the risks of letting the market operate unhindered is that unscrupulous players can vitiate the entire market through unethical trade practices. In order to engage with the OTAs constructively, it is imperative that a system is put in place with qualitative benchmarks to accredit them. The paramount concern would be the assurance of quality of service delivery for the customer by the OTA. The major features of the guidelines are: recognition as an approved OTA shall be granted by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, for five years, based on the inspection report/recommendations of a committee comprising the concerned Regional Director (RD), a representative of FHRAI and a representative of IATO, and approval of Competent Authority (Chairman, HRACC); the re-approval shall be granted for five years after inspection conducted by a committee of the same constitution, based upon an application, complete and free from all deficiencies, made by OTA along with the requisite fee/documents on the online platform, at least a clear 6 months prior to the expiry of the previous approval. In case the application is complete in all respects and free from all deficiencies is …

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Tourism is the future of India: Alphons at 14th CII Annual Tourism Summit

Addressing delegates during the inaugural ceremony of 14th CII Annual Tourism Summit in Delhi, KJ Alphons, Union Minister of State (I/C) Tourism, said that tourism is the future of India. “Tourism is the future of the country. Foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) have gone up by 14 per cent, while the global figures were at 7 per cent. Approximately, 84 million people are currently employed by the tourism industry across the country,” he said. Suggesting ways to keep tourists for longer in the country, he said, “We are also thinking in terms of further visa reforms. I think Yoga and Ayurveda are the two things that can bring wellness and help us to keep tourists for longer in our country. Tourism is about jobs, money and bringing the world together. We have ambitous targets and we all can achieve them together.”

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New Tourism Secretary, Yogendra Tripathi addresses IATO members

Yogendra Tripathi, the newly-appointed Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, marked his presence at the special luncheon organised by Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) to bid farewell to Rashmi Verma, Former Secretary, Tourism on her superannuation from the post. Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, thanked Verma for her support and welcomed Tripathi on behalf of the association. Addressing the members, Tripathi said that he is aware of the contributions of his predecessor for the industry and is hopeful to take the industry voice to the government in the same manner. “There are always unresolved issues, as well as new problems and agendas for the industry. I believe that the Tourism Secretary is nothing but an advocate for the tourism industry. Apart from what we do indirectly, what we do directly is primarily promotional, which is also supporting the industry one way or the other. It is our job to support the industry, and we will continue to do that,” he added.

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Govt inaugurates first project under Swadesh Darshan scheme in Nagaland

The central government has launched ‘Development of Tribal Circuit: Peren-Kohima-Wokha Project’ under its Swadesh Darshan scheme to develop Nagaland as a tourist state. Neiphiu Rio, Chief Minister, Nagaland, inaugurated the project at Kisama Heritage Village in the presence of KJ Alphons, Union Minister of State (I/C), Tourism, and H Khehovi Yepthomi, Adviser, Tourism, Art & Culture, Government of Nagaland. The project was sanctioned by Ministry of Tourism in November 2015 for Rs 97.36 crores. Under the project, the Ministry has developed facilities like tribal tourist village, eco log huts, open air theatre, tribal rejuvenation centre, cafeteria, helipad, tourist interpretation centre, wayside amenities, last-mile connectivity, public conveniences, multi-purpose hall, nature trails, trekking routes, etc. In addition to the above project, the Ministry has sanctioned another project in Nagaland ‘Development of Tribal circuit: Mokokchung–Tuensang-Mon’ for Rs 99.67 crores. The implementation of the project is in progress.

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7th International Tourism Mart to be held in Tripura from November 22

The Ministry of Tourism, in association with the Department of Tourism, Government of Tripura and the north-eastern states is organising “7th International Tourism Mart” in Tripura from November 22-24, 2018. To be held at the Pragna Bhawan, the event will be inaugurated by Professor Kaptan Singh Solanki, Governor, Tripura, in the presence of KJ Alphons, Union Minister for Tourism; Biplab Kumar Deb, Chief Minister, Tripura; Rashmi Verma, Union Tourism Secretary and other dignitaries from central ministries and north-eastern states. The event aims at highlighting the tourism potential of the region in the domestic and international markets by bringing together the tourism business fraternity and entrepreneurs from the eight north-eastern states. The event has been planned and scheduled to facilitate interaction between buyers, sellers, media, government agencies and other stakeholders. The earlier editions of this mart have been held in Guwahati, Tawang, Shillong, Gangtok and Imphal. The ITM will see wide participation of International buyers and media delegates from countries around the world and from different regions of the country. They will be engaging in business-to-business meetings with sellers from the North Eastern Region. A total of 41 foreign delegates from 18 countries namely Australia, Canada, China, France, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, the UAE and the USA will be in Tripura for the mart. These include 23 tour operators and travel agents, 18 media representatives, journalists, travel writers and bloggers. The three-day event will also include presentations by state governments of the region on their tourism potential, panel discussion, cultural evenings, sightseeing visits to local attractions in and around Agartala and a press meet on November 23.

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Yogendra Tripathy to replace Rashmi Verma as Tourism Secretary

Yogendra Tripathy, Chairman and Managing Director, Food Corporation of India (FCI), has been appointed as Secretary—Tourism, Government of India, on retirement of Rashmi Verma at the end of November, according to recent appointments of senior officials by the government. Tripathy has been associated with FCI since July 30, 2015. He is a 1985 batch IAS officer of Karnataka cadre.

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MOT rolls out online certification programme for tourist facilitators

Union Tourism Secretary Rashmi Verma has rolled out the Incredible India Tourist Facilitator Certification (IITFC) Programme in Delhi. Participants will now be able to register for this programme through an online digital platform. IITFC will enable Indian citizens to develop and enhance the skills associated with tourism, and where one can incorporate knowledge about facilitating tourists across the country. Union Tourism Minister K J Alphons had earlier launched the IITFC on the occasion of World Tourism Day. The certification programme comprises basic and advanced self-paced courses designed in a manner that users can learn at their own time, space, path and pace. The course kicks off with a basic introductory module alongside the registration process. This will be followed by payment initiation on November 19, where any 10+2 pass-out candidate can enroll in the basic course comprising seven modules aimed at training the facilitators for knowledge, skills and attitude domains at a nominal charge of Rs 2000. Successful completion of this programme would enable the learner to become a Certified Tourist Facilitator of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. A refresher course is also proposed for launch in due time for those already in the field seeking at an advanced level course to enhance their skill set. Speaking on the occasion, Verma said that the concept of ‘tourist guide’ has changed world over and the new-age tourist facilitators are ‘story tellers’. She added that this online programme will have lots of advantages like job creation for local people, harness the local experience and traditional knowledge.

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Vinod Zutshi inaugurates International Conference on Rural Tourism Development in Delhi

Vinod Zutshi, Former Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Nagesh Singh, Former Additional Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, inaugurated the three-day International Conference on Rurality, Ruralism and Rural Tourism – Challenges and Coping Strategies at Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi. Organised by the Department of Tourism & Hospitality Management, Jamia Millia Islamia, the ongoing conference is being attended by delegates from eminent tourism institutes from India and 25 other countries. “Rural tourism is at a nascent stage but there is a lot of scope and potential to promote rural destinations in India. It is an untapped market and we need to identify more and more destinations across the country,” said Zutshi during the conference sponsored by Ministry of Tourism. MP Bezbaruah, Former Secretary, Ministry of Tourism; S K Misra, Chairman, Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development and Ex-Secretary, Ministry of Tourism; Sujit Banerjee, Secretary General ,WTTC India attended the event while Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Tourism, Government of Delhi is set to preside over the valedictory function. This conference will help bring various stakeholders on a single platform to discuss future tourism trends, ideas, implications and methodologies, theoretical and practical approaches for rural tourism development. The objective is to discuss the contemporary research in the area of rural tourism. The event will showcase rural life, art, culture, and heritage at rural locations and in villages, which have core competence in art and craft. Handloom, textiles, and also an asset base in the natural environment.

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K J Alphons inaugurates two Northeast Circuits in Arunachal Pradesh under Swadesh Darshan Scheme

Union Minister of State (I/C) Tourism K J Alphons, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Arunachal Pradesh Tourism Minister Jarkar Gamlin inaugurated two projects under Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism at PTSO Lake in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh. These projects are ‘Development of Northeast Circuits: Bhalukpong- Bomdila – Tawang Project & Nafra- Seppa- Pappu, Pasa, Pakke Valleys- Sangdupota- New Sagalee- Ziro- Yomcha Project’. Other important dignitaries were also present on the occasion. Speaking at the event, Alphons said, “The efforts of Ministry have shown positive results and the foreign tourist arrivals in the region have shown an upward trend over the years. The region received a total of 1.69 lakh foreign tourist visits during 2017 as against 1.45 lakh in 2016 registering a growth of 16.7% over 2016. The domestic tourist visits reached to 95.47 lakhs in the year 2017 against 77.71 lakhs registering impressive double digit growth of 22.8% over 2016. The increased number of tourists in turn has created better employment opportunity for the local population in the region.” Under the project development of Bhalukpong- Bomdila – Tawang, the Ministry has developed facilities like accommodation, cafeteria, wayside amenities, last mile connectivity, pathways, toilets, multipurpose hall at Jang, Sorang Monastery, Lumpo, Zemithang, Bumla Pass, Gritsang TSO lake, PTSO Lake, Thingbu and Grenkha Hot Spring, Lumla, Sela Lake. The facilities developed under Nafra- Seppa- Pappu, Pasa, Pakke Valleys- Sangdupota- New Sagalee- Ziro- Yomcha include helipad, trekking trails, rafting centre, log huts, craft bazaar, eco park, tourist facilitation centres, parking, festival ground, etc.  

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K J Alphons inaugurates Tourist Facilitation and Information Counter at IGI Airport, Delhi

Union Minister for Tourism (I/C) KJ Alphons has inaugurated the Tourist Facilitation and Information Counter at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. The counter is located at the T3 arrival gates of the airport. Opening the first-of-its-kind facilitation centre for visitors, Alphons said that this shall be of great help to the tourists visiting the country. He further added that the counter shall cater to non-English speaking tourists also as the counter will be connected to the 24*7 Helpline – ‘1363’ of the Tourism Ministry where the tourists can speak directly with the foreign language agents and get guidance in French, German, Italian, French, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Arabic. The Ministry of Tourism has set-up this counter with an objective to provide 24*7 information to both domestic and international visitors arriving into IGI Airport, New Delhi. The Tourist Facilitation Counter will be manned by two staff members and a supervisor to answer the queries of the tourists and also guide them with information. The counter is also stocked with sufficient high-quality tourist literature and brochures to be provided to the tourists. Along with it, the Tourism Ministry is also starting facilitation counters in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Gaya and Varanasi.

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