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    Tour operators' body seeks Centre's help to stop harassing foreign tourists for coronavirus

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    Tour operators body seeks Centres help to stop harassing foreign tourists for coronavirus
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    New Delhi: Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) on Friday said it has sought intervention of the tourism ministry in the wake of certain hotels across the country denying check in to foreign tourists especially from countries like Italy, South Korea, Iran and Japan.

    IATO said the hotels are denying check in to all these tourists despite all of them holding proper visa and were already travelling in India before restrictions were even announced.

    The organisation has taken up the matter with tourism ministry seeking its urgent intervention as the matter is sensitive and will hurt our image badly as a trusted destination among foreign tourists, IATO said in a statement.

    "The tourism ministry has assured that communication is being sent to states to see that tourists are not unnecessarily harassed. Also, health ministry is being asked to issue travel advisory for those not affected by the virus. In case of any suspect, medical check-up can be conducted locally," IATO President Pronab Sarkar said.

    The organisation has also requested the Ministry of Tourism to set up a 24x7 operational control room to assist the foreign tourists in any emergency and have an online mechanism to know whom to reach out to in case of distress, IATO said.

    Besides, issues like Government of Sikkim withdrawing the Inner Line Permit from March 5, 2020 for all foreign tourists, have also been taken up with the central government.

    The Chief Minister of Sikkim has been approached with a request to withdraw this order and allow foreign tourists to enter Sikkim including tourists from Italy, Japan, South Korea and Iran which have valid permission and are already in India. If need arises, medical checkups can be conducted locally, IATO said.

    "While we all stand for the safety of our fellow countrymen, we should also guard against unnecessary harassment and panic for the visiting tourists. We request the government to take steps that boosts confidence of foreign nationals to visit India," it added.

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