Indian Tourism Ministry Is Working On A Certification To Ensure All Tourist Spots Are Safe

by Natasha Monteiro
Indian Tourism Ministry Is Working On A Certification To Ensure All Tourist Spots Are Safe

With COVID-19 putting a dent on the tourism industry and with the general confusion about the opening and safety of tourist locations, the Indian Tourism Ministry has called for a meeting on May 20th to work on the first draft of a standardised procedure for safety and sanitisation certification of all Indian tourist spots.

Tourism Safety & Sanitisation Certification Details

The coronavirus has created huge dents on the economy,. Countries have shut down borders, their tourist hot-spots and prohibited tourism, even within the country itself. India is not different. Even states like Sikkim which is now COVID-19 negative has Shut All Doors To Tourists Till October To Remain Coronavirus-Free. Tourism is obviously suffering. To give you an idea of just how much the shutting down of borders has impacted us, take a look at these stats. In 2019, foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in India stood at 10.89 million, achieving a growth rate of 3.20 per cent year-on-year. In 2020, just during April-June, the Indian tourism industry is expected to book a revenue loss of Rs 69,400 crore, denoting a year-on-year loss of 30 per cent.

With the aim to boost tourism again and get revenue back on track, Meenakshi Sharma, director general, Ministry of Tourism will be holding a webinar with various state secretaries. The agenda of the meeting will be to revive confidence in the tourism and hospitality industry and create a standard operating procedure for tourist hot spots to adhere to.

Meenakshi Sharma said, “There is a need for highlighting safety and sanitisation. We have already created guidelines which have been circulated to all the states. However, I think it is a good idea if the industry is ready to accept a certification. We have the first draft ready which will be discussed in the meeting and we will be immediately going forward with it.”

Also read: 10 Places That Are Opening Up For Tourism Again Rather Cautiously!

Following are the key pointers of the discussion:

1. Guidelines for safety & sanitisation to be followed by all states

2. The Ministry Of Tourism is open to a third party certification, declaring torist spots as safe and sanitised.

Meenakshi Sharma said, “”We need one set of standards or protocol which is approved by the ministry for the entire industry. We could get one of the Big 4 auditing firms to create them. These standards should help establishments in the industry define minimum standards of safety and sanitisation that they have to adhere to.”

3. Considering the diverse nature of the tourism industry, a standard protocol will be used that will govern all types of tourism

Meenakshi Sharma said, “”I don’t think inspector raj or employing an enforcement force in a diverse sector like travel is possible. One cannot have same rules for a hotel and a homestay. However, we do need minimum standards of safety.”

4. Positive PR and marketing campaigns need to be implemented, especially for international markets to establish India as a safe place.

5. The need to open hotels for longer stays, formalising the travel and tourism sector, and incentivising tour operators

Let’s hope that these discussions have a positive outcome and we have a lot more to look forward to in 2020.

Also read: Goa Tourism To Reinvent With 1960s Charm And ‘Wealthy Tourists’