COVID-19 impact: Tourism Ministry extends validity period for hotels and travel agents

The extension will apply only if previous approval expires during the lockdown period.

Ministry of tourism, The validity of approval or certification of hotels, Accomodation units, Coronavirus, Tour operators, Travel agents

With the hospitality industry facing the worst-ever crisis due to lockdown inducted by coronavirus, the Union Tourism Ministry has now decided to extend the validity of approval or certification of hotels and other accommodation units whose project approvals and classifications have expired or are likely to expire.

As per the Ministry’s announcement, the validity of approval or certification of hotels and the travel agents, tour operators, adventure tour operators, domestic tour operators and tourist transport operators has now been extended till June 30.

In a release, the ministry said that the decision was taken "considering the current situation when the hospitality industry is going through a very difficult time in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown that has severely impacted the accommodation sector, it has been decided that validity of approval or certifications of hotels and other accommodation units whose project approvals and classification have expired/ are likely to expire during the period (24/3/ 2020 to 29/ 6/ 2020) are deemed to be extended till June 30." However, the extension will apply only if previous approval expires during the lockdown period. 

The hotels are classified by the Tourism Ministry under the star rating system to conform to the expected standards for different classes of tourists.

Under this system, hotels are given a rating, from One Star to Three Star, Four and Five Star with or without alcohol, Five Star Deluxe, Heritage (Basic), Heritage (Classic), Heritage (Grand), Legacy Vintage (Basic), Legacy Vintage (Classic), Legacy Vintage (Grand) and Apartment Hotels, Homestays, Guest house etc. The classification is valid for five years. The extension that the ministry granted will apply to all.

Likewise, the Ministry also has a scheme of approving Travel Agents, Tour Operators, Adventure Tour Operators, Domestic Tour Operators and Tourist Transport Operators etc. The core idea behind this is to encourage quality, standard and service in these categories to promote Tourism in India. The validity period of approvals for this category too has been extended till June 30.

Due to the postponement of inspection work and application scrutiny during the lockdown period, it has decided to allow six months' relaxation or extension to all categories of tour operators for their approval with the ministry.

However, the relaxations are subject to certain conditions that include that the previous approval expires during the lockdown period.

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