Now, on­line travel ag­gre­ga­tors to be ac­cred­i­tated, clas­si­fied by Govt

The Hitavada - - HOME & ABROAD -

ON­LINE travel ag­gre­ga­tors like Air B&B, Make­mytrip, Ya­tra and Oyo will now need to be recog­nised by the Tourism Min­istry in or­der to op­er­ate, a se­nior of­fi­cial said.

For the first time, the Min­istry has pre­pared a set of guide­lines by which it will ap­prove and clas­sify on­line travel ag­gre­ga­tors (OTAs) en­sur­ing re­li­a­bil­ity of their ser­vices. The scheme for ap­proval/re-ap­proval of OTAs will be rolled out on­line by the end of this month and all ap­pli­ca­tions and fee pay­ment will have to be made on it, the Min­istry of­fi­cial said.

“The scheme will 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,” he added. The recognition as an ap­proved OTA will be granted by the Min­istry for five years, based on the in­spec­tion re­port and rec­om­men­da­tions of a com­mit­tee com­pris­ing representatives of The Fed­er­a­tion of Ho­tel and Restau­rant As­so­ci­a­tions of In­dia (FHRAI) and The In­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Tour Op­er­a­tors (IATO), and ap­proval of the chair­man of The Ho­tel & Restau­rant Ap­proval & Clas­si­fi­ca­tion Com­mit­tee (HRACC).

The of­fi­cial said that such a scheme for ac­cred­i­ta­tion was nec­es­sary as let­ting the mar­ket op­er­ate un­hin­dered could lead to un­scrupu­lous play­ers to vi­ti­ate it. “In or­der to en­gage with the OTAs, it is im­per­a­tive that a sys­tem is put in place with qual­i­ta­tive bench­marks. The para­mount con­cern would be the as­sur­ance of qual­ity of ser­vice de­liv­ery for the cus­tomer by the OTA,” he said. The guide­lines for ap­proval/re-ap­proval of OTAs will en­sure that there are ad­e­quate safe­guards against de­fi­ciency of ser­vice, al­ter­nate ar­range­ments.

It shall be manda­tory for an ap­proved OTA to promi­nently dis­play in a photo frame the cer­tifi­cate of ap­proval given by the Min­istry in its of­fice premises so that it is vis­i­ble and also un­der a prom­i­nent link on the home page of its main web­site. The Min­istry has also listed a set of cri­te­ri­ons for the OTAs. These in­clude pa­ram­e­ters which state that to ap­ply for ac­cred­i­ta­tion, OTAs should have been in con­tin­u­ous op­er­a­tion for a min­i­mum pe­riod of three years prior to the date of ap­pli­ca­tion, have a min­i­mum paid up cap­i­tal (or cap­i­tal em­ployed) of Rs 1 crore, and have of­fice premises un­der the charge of the owner with a min­i­mum space of least 1000 sq ft.

(AFP)

Ja­panese kinder­garten chil­dren wear­ing tra­di­tional head­wear use wooden ham­mers to pound steamed rice into a mochi rice cake dur­ing the an­nual ‘mochi-tsuki’ event to cel­e­brate the New Year at a kinder­garten in Tokyo on Thurs­day.

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