Tourism Ministry formulates Guidelines for approval of OTAs

The Ministry of Tourism have formulated the guidelines for approval and re-approval of Online Travel Aggregators (OTA) to ensure adequate safeguards against deficiency of service, alternate arrangements and punitive deterrence.

An OTA is an intermediary or an agent, selling travel products and services such as the airlines, car rental, cruise lines, Hotels or Accommodation, railways and vacation packages on behalf of suppliers using the internet as a medium.

The ministry said in a statement yesterday that the voluntary scheme is open to genuine online travel aggregators to bring them on a common platform in the organized sector.

The guidelines will be rolled out online by the end of this month.

The Ministry will grant recognition as an approved OTA for five years, based on the inspection report and recommendations of a committee and approval of the chairman of The Hotel & Restaurant Approval & Classification Committee.

Re-approval, thereafter, shall also be granted for five years after inspection conducted by a Committee of the same constitution.

The ministry said in order to engage with the OTAs constructively, it is imperative that a system is put in place with qualitative benchmarks to accredit them.