At the networking dinner, visa problems, TCS and various other problems were discussed. The Western Chapter meeting received good participation from members of the travel fraternity.
In an exclusive chat with BOTT, Ajay Prakash, President TAFI said, “Tourism operates both ways. If you curtail or hamperoutbound travel by making the dollar twenty per cent more expensive in the immediate instance because of this TCS, it is also going to affect the inbound travel. Airlines need traffic in more directions. It can’t be a one-way street. I do hope that they will reconsider this ill-planned move. If you want to encourage and promote inbound tourism, we need to have a sustained marketing effort which we haven’t been doing. During the two years of Covid, the government did no promotion overseas. Neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Thailand were still promoting themselves.To make matters worse, the Government of India shut down its offices overseas.Now we are going to depend on the embassies and consulates to do tourism promotion. They lack the vision, commitment and passion for tourism. Tourism requires passion. You got to believe in what you are doing and be passionate about it.While outbound tourism is at about 75% of what it was, inbound is 35%. I don’t know where we are headed but I hope 2024 will be better.It needs a certain input and an effort which is missing”.