Tour operators pour out their woes

Speaking after unveiling the second round of “Roadshow India - Destination South India”, an initiative by the Ministry of Tourism and Karnataka Tourism Department Ahmed drew attention to the market development assistance scheme which offered financial incentives for approved domestic tour operators, who attend the road shows.

The Karnataka Tourism Forum (KTF) and Karnataka chapter of Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) presented some of the hurdles they faced in planning travel packages for tourists in southern states.

"We appealed to the Tourism ministry for better road, air and sea connectivity, which will benefit all the southern states.  We want the Ministry to give Karnataka its due share in Incredible India campaign," said KTF secretary Titus Jacob. They also sought standardised timing and charges to visit monuments controlled by Archaeology Survey of India (ASI) across the four states and three union territories.

Similarly, the IATO put forth demands like need for online payment of vehicle permit taxes in all Southern states, uniform rules and regulations to acquire All India Tourist Permit vehicles, need for qualified guides who spoke English and foreign languages and removal of night travel ban in Bandipur and Nagarhole National Parks.

Lack of wayside amenities like restrooms and restaurants attached to petrol pumps while undertaking long road journeys was the need of the hour, said Ravi, an IATO member.
Meanwhile, Sujit Banerjee, secretary, Union Ministry of Tourism, said that seamless travel and uniformity of luxury taxes were some of the issues that the Ministry was working on."

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