IATO backs dig­i­tal pay­ments

In the wake of de­mon­eti­sa­tion, the In­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Tour Op­er­a­tors (IATO) has called for guide­lines for ASI to ac­cept credit and debit cards or on­line pay­ments.

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Pronab Sarkar, Pres­i­dent, IATO, claimed that the Min­istry of Tourism has taken into con­sid­er­a­tion most of its sug­ges­tions re­gard­ing ASI mon­u­ment fee right from the day the trans­ac­tion with ` 500 and ` 1000 notes was banned. “Ow­ing to de­mon­eti­sa­tion, our mem­bers are fac­ing prob­lems and we have taken up the is­sues with MOT and they have taken up this mat­ter with the cul­ture min­istry. We want that cul­ture min­istry should is­sue proper guide­lines to ASI mon­u­ments for ac­cept­ing credit and debit cards, and also ac­ti­vate on­line trans­ac­tion,” he said.

Cit­ing the ex­am­ple of Agra, Sarkar said, “A to­tal of nine mon­u­ments are not on­line, in­clud­ing Fateh­pur Sikri and Red Fort in Agra, which should be on­line, al­low­ing tour op­er­a­tors to buy tick­ets on­line. We have also re­quested that our mem­bers should be able to buy ASI mon­u­ment tick­ets in ad­vance by pay­ing through cheques, de­mand drafts, NEFT or RTGS and the en­try of tourists should not be re­stricted. Since the Sec­re­tary, Tourism, has writ­ten to Sec­re­tary, Cul­ture, we are now hop­ing that there will be a pos­i­tive re­sponse com­ing our way.”

Lally Matthews, Hony. Sec­re­tary, IATO, added, “We have writ­ten to the min­istry and the ASI to al­low POS ma­chines to be in­stalled at the mon­u­ments, so that it be­comes easy for the tourists as well tour op­er­a­tors to buy tick­ets.” In fact, one of IATO’s de­mands to buy tick­ets in bulk has now been ac­cepted by the Min­istry of Tourism.

Sarkar re­vealed that they also had other is­sues of their mem­bers. “We also met Chan­drababu Naidu, Chief Min­is­ter, Andhra Pradesh (AP), and ex­pressed our dif­fi­cul­ties in han­dling tours in the state, es­pe­cially with high road taxes for tourist ve­hi­cles. We re­quested for some dis­counts so that more peo­ple can travel be­tween Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Plus, there should be ex­tra fa­cil­i­ties for for­eign tourists to visit Tiru­pati.”

Lally Matthews Hony. Sec­re­tary IATO

Pronab Sarkar Pres­i­dent IATO

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