Union tourism minister meets online travel agents

Union tourism minister Prahlad Patel meets online travel agents, discusses post coronavirus lockdown protocols

Prahlad Patel. (PTI Photo)

Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel on Friday met a delegation of leading online travel agents (OTAs) of the country to discuss calibrated opening of hotels and accommodation units and issuing post-lockdown protocols for travel-related activities.

He shared the plan of the ministry for rebooting the travel sector starting with domestic tourism and also noted the inputs and ideas put forward by the online travel agents, according to an official statement.

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"The delegation further discussed matters relating to partnership with the Ministry of Tourism on ways to leverage the Incredible India digital platform to provide better access to various tourist services.

"The other areas of cooperation included creating an e-market place for tourist guides and reform in tax collected at source (TCS) and tax deducted at source (TDS) for the OTA sector," it stated.

The delegation also requested Tourism Minister Patel to liberalise the ministry's OTA 2018 guidelines by making it simple and "based on principle of self-certification" powered with industry-driven quality assurance and grievance redressal system.

Those present in the meeting included senior officials from the ministry and the online travel agents were represented by Ritesh Agarwal from OYO, Deep Kalra from Make My Trip, Dhhruv Shingri from Yatra.com and Rikant Pittie from EaseMyTrip.com

OTAs are online companies who through their websites enable people to book various travel related services. They are third party agents reselling trips, hotels, cars, flights, vacation packages and other provided or organised by others. 

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