April 10, 2020
The online portal enables foreign tourists to provide their contact details and seek assistance on a variety of issues faced by them
The Ministry of Tourism has received close to 800 phone calls on its helpline for visitors between March 22 and April 9
The Ministry of Tourism has appointed a nodal officer in every state and UT to address requests from users on the portal
The Government and tourism-related organisations across India are committed to overcoming the challenges created by the pandemic
The ‘Stranded in India’ portal, launched by India’s Ministry of Tourism on March 31, has assisted 1194 foreign tourists who are currently held back in various parts of the country amid the nationwide lockdown caused by the COVID-19 crisis, as per information available on April 9. According to an official Ministry of Tourism release, the online portal enables foreign tourists to provide their contact details and seek assistance on a variety of issues faced by them.
Besides, the Ministry has received close to 800 phone calls on its regular toll-free helpline between March 22 and April 9, showcasing the extent of government support provided to tourists in need.
By identifying a nodal officer in every state government and union territory administration, the Ministry of Tourism is successfully coordinating with its regional offices to address requests from users on the portal. These include visa-related issues, requests for movement within the country, and requests for assistance in transfer back to respective countries of origin, requiring effective coordination with the Bureau of Immigration and several foreigner regional registration offices.
Additionally, coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs and with several foreign embassies and consulates have been vital in meeting the needs of these stranded foreign tourists, in terms of travel requirements, information on flights to their home countries, and on-ground assistance for medical treatment, food, and accommodation.
In a webinar organised by the Adventure Tour Operators Association of India, the Ministry of Tourism Director General, Smt. Meenakshi Sharma addressed the importance of containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic to support the needs of citizens and foreign tourists alike. Similar webinars are in the works, organised by FICCI and other organisations related to tourism, showcasing a national intent to work together in overcoming the challenges currently faced by the industry.