Allow foreign tourists for us to sustain operations: PPP airports to govt

NEW DELHI: The PPP (public private partnership) airport operators and travel industry has asked the government to reopen the doors for foreign tourists. A task force set up by the government with representatives from airlines, airports and airlines has also recommended re-opening for tourist visa and creating air bubbles with more countries.
The Association of Private Airport Operators (APAO) has told the aviation ministry the six metro airports saw 16 lakh international passengers in April to September, 2020, — 7% of the 2.2 crore witnessed in same period last year. “While we welcome the step taken by the government in relaxing visa and travel restrictions for foreign nationals, tourist visa has not been restored. (That) resumption will not only aid the aviation sector but also help recover the economy at a faster pace benefitting the entire tourism and hospitality eco-system of airlines, hotels, tour operators, transportation companies. We, therefore, request you to consider the resumption of tourist visa in a gradual manner,” APAO secretary-general Satyan Nayar wrote to the aviation ministry recently.
The government as been gradually opening the doors for foreigners and allowing tourists is the next step.
The PPP airport operators have suggested India allow issuing tourist visas to countries on a reciprocal basis. “Many countries including USA, UK, UAE (Dubai and Sharjah), Maldives and Ethiopia have already started welcoming tourist traffic from India.”
APAO members are PPP airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin, and greenfield airports coming up in Navi Mumbai and Mopa in Goa. In the next step, the travel industry has suggested that India start issuing tourist visas to major source markets like Bangladesh, US, UK, Australia, Canada, China, Malaysia and Germany.
“Historically October-March season contributes 60% of total foreign tourist arrivals (FTA) and more than 55% of total foreign exchange earnings. Hence, industry will benefit through easing of restrictions especially in this period… Your support in terms of facilitating these supports is critical for us to navigate through this period of crisis and to sustain our operations.,” APAO letter says.
Tourism, hospitality and travel are the worst hit sector in the pandemic. According to United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates, global international tourist arrivals could decrease by 58-78% cent in 2020, leading to a potential loss of $0.9-1.2 trillion.

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