`Stranded in India’ portal receives deluge of queries from foreign tourists
The Ministry of Tourism has received over 500 requests on its Stranded in India portal which was launched on March 31, to help international tourists. The ministry is is coordinating assistance to tourists with the help of the Ministry of External Affairs and other state officials to address these queries. It has also been coordinating with respective embassies regarding the various problems faced by the guests.
The majority of requests received from foreign tourists were related to information on getting back to their home country ot extending their visas to stay back in India. The other issue was getting to bigger cities like Delhi, Mumbai or Bengaluru from where they could fly out once the lock-down gets lifted. The Ministry of Tourism is working actively with the state officials to provide a solution for the same. Emergency requests like the need for food, medicine and elderly care are being expedited.
The hotels and restaurants division of the ministry has been in touch with several hotels which are accommodating guests during the lock-down. Hotels are being requested to follow protocol and extend their support till guests depart.
The ministry has set up a task-force comprising officials both at the central and regional levels, along with officials of state tourism departments, to address the issues. The coordination group is working through WhatsApp, e-mails and telephones to ensure smooth information flow and speedy redressal of concerns. The ministry has set up a 24×7 telephone helpline 1363 to provide updated information to tourists.