Companies & Sectors
Inbound tourism sector to suffer due to travel advisories from five countries

Experts say such travel advisories against India are “misguiding” and would significantly affect tourist inflow, both in the business and leisure categories 

The travel advisories issued by five countries—the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand against India, are likely to impact the inbound tourist inflow. Experts warn that such advisories are unnecessary and unethical, and would severely impact (both leisure and business) travellers who plan to visit India. Historically, tourists from these countries have the highest footfalls.

Currently, the US government has issued travel advisories against 33 countries including Mexico, Libya, the Philippines, Iran, Nepal and Columbia, while the Australian government has issued such advisories against 11 counties. Interestingly, the UK government has issued travel advisories against three countries including Somalia, Syria and Yemen and has advised against all travel to parts of 33 other countries—including India.

Criticizing such advisories, Iqbal Mullah, president, The Travel Agents Association of India told Moneylife, “We strongly condemn such advisories. Today Bangkok is flooded, but there is no such advisory against Thailand. While here India is peaceful, festival celebrations are taking place, and there are major events that are happening which have seen positive support from other countries. These advisories may or may not affect tourism, but they are definitely misguiding (travellers).”

According to experts from the travel & tourism industry, such advisories are harmful for the inflow of tourists. “The inbound tourism market would be hit by such an advisory. This comes at a time when the number of foreign tourists is likely to increase in December. Travellers who have already made arrangements, for instance, visitors for the Formula 1 race, would be committed to visit. But for those who are planning to visit, they likely to change their plans,” said Manoj Gurshahani, director of travel, Travelmartin.com.

On Wednesday, seeing the seriousness of the impact of these advisories on the tourism sector, India appealed to Australian authorities to withdraw the issuance of such advisories.  

Zeelam Chaubal, director of Kesari Tours Pvt Ltd, feels that such advisories have always been a setback for tourism and business investment. “This is a common phenomenon for the tourism industry. And this would be bad news for the inbound tourist inflow. Though the impact may not be immediate, we might feel the pinch in the coming season. Travellers like leisure tourists, and business class executives would have to think twice before visiting, directly affecting investment opportunities in India.”

According to the ministry of tourism, foreign tourist arrivals in the period between January to September 2011 stood at 42.20 lakh, a growth of 10% as compared to the same period a year earlier.

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BSNL connects landline with private mobile operators in Punjab

On 29th September, BSNL’s Punjab circle had disconnected the services to five mobile operators including Airtel, Vodafone, Tata Teleservices, Reliance Communication and Idea, on account of pending dues amounting to Rs13 crore

Chandigarh: After nearly a month of disruption, state-owned telecom major Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) today restored services between its landline telephones and private mobile operators, reports PTI.

The services have been restored following fresh directions issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to BSNL to restore the services by today.

“The Points of Interconnect (providing connectivity between BSNL landline phones and mobile phones of private operators within Punjab have been restored, following directions from the head office,” a BSNL official said here.

Earlier last week, BSNL had ignored similar directions of TRAI, after which private mobile operators again approached the regulatory body.

On 29th September, BSNL’s Punjab circle had disconnected the services to five mobile operators including Airtel, Vodafone, Tata Teleservices, Reliance Communication and Idea, on account of pending dues amounting to Rs13 crore.

Customers could not call up on one another’s network in Punjab, Chandigarh and Panchkula in Haryana.

BSNL landline subscribers could not make a call to mobile subscribers of private mobile operators and vice-versa.

On 3rd October, BSNL restored services to RCom and Tata Teleservices as telecom tribunal TDSAT stayed BSNL from disconnecting services of the two private operators.

BSNL, following hardships faced by those in distress, had restored services to emergency numbers like 100, 101, 102 and 108 in the Punjab circle.

In Punjab, BSNL has about 11.91 lakh landline customers, while mobile operators Airtel, Vodafone and Idea had 67.09 lakh, 42.30 lakh, and 47.34 lakh subscribers respectively as on 31st July.

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