Sunday, October 08, 2017

Tourism ministry to set up help desks for foreigners at airports

The tourism ministry is going to put up help-desk counters at some popular Indian airports to help foreign travellers when they land. These counters, likely to come up in November, will offer a host of amenities.

"We want the counters to welcome foreign travellers and make them more comfortable. Information about tourist spots, amenities and help with currency exchange are some of the facilities that will be made available," said tourism secretary Rashmi Verma, adding that the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) will be roped in for help.

The counters will be first started in five cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore. Officials said that there were functioning counters in Mumbai and Delhi, but they were stopped due to lack of manpower.

The move, experts say, is to attract the steady inflow of foreign arrivals, that has seen an increase in the last few years. Till June this year, India had over 48,85,340 foreign travel arrivals (FTAs), which is more than the 41,68,864 FTAs India had till June in 2016. In all, there were 8.8 million FTAs in 2016, an increase of 9.7 per cent in the last year. The foreign exchange India earned in 2016 was Rs 1,54,146 crore.
Currently, the ITDC has two counters at both terminals of Delhi's Indira Gandhi International airport, and runs forex counters in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore.
08/10/17 Amrita Madhukalya/DNA