US flags India as high-risk country is detrimental to tourism sector: FAITH

The Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH), the policy federation of all the national associations representing the complete tourism, travel and hospitality industry of India (ADTOI, ATOAI, FHRAI, HAI, IATO, ICPB, IHHA, ITTA, TAAI, TAFI), has urgently requested the negative travel advisory from the US to India to be addressed.

FAITH stated that the US currently has a travel advisory, rated level 4 for India (as on August 23). On a scale of 1-4, this is the highest level of risk rating, carrying with it the advice of ‘do not travel’.

The US has highlighted terrorism, crimes against women, and insurgency among other reasons apart from the increase in the number of cases of the coronavirus for keeping India at level 4.

FAITH Associations have highlighted that the US is the most important long-haul source market for India for most segments of travel. Over the past 10 years, it would have probably brought in between 10- 15 million tourists who could have been instrumental in creating an estimated 40 million foreign tourist visits across Indian states.

The travellers from the US also have one of the highest averages stays in India of over 29 days as against the average of 22 days for all source markets. This is a very strategic source of economic and job multiplier for India.

Some of the few countries that were kept in this category as on August 23 include Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen among others.

FAITH believes that this is perceptually extremely poor for India.

FAITH stated in its official release that as India has begun the process of opening up its air corridors, such an advisory for India is detrimental to kickstarting all leisure, business & tourists from the USA.

Additionally, travel advisory as such from the US tends to send a wrong signal for the rest of the developed countries.

This advisory appears to have been last updated on 6th August 2020. FAITH Associations have requested the tourism minister to urgently take it up with Minister of External Affairs so that he can discuss it with his American counterpart for an immediate revision.

The favourable revision of the travel advisory would be a big boost in beginning the process of creating a positive sentiment for travel, which will slowly put in motion revival for the inbound tourism industry, FAITH Associations added in the release.

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