Guidelines For Recognition / Renewal As An Approved Travel Agent
- The aims and objectives of the scheme for recognition of Travel Agent are to encourage quality standard and service in this category so as to promote tourism in India. This is a voluntary scheme open to all bonafide travel agencies to bring them in organized sector.
- Definition : A Travel Agent is one who makes arrangements oftickets for travel by air, rail, ship, passport, visa, etc. It may also arrange accommodation, tours, entertainment and other tourism related services.
- 3. The application for recognition shall be addressed to the Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Transport Bhawan, No.1, Parliament Street, New Delhi-110001.
- The recognition as an approved Travel Agent shall be granted by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, New Delhi initially, for five years, based on the Inspection Report / Recommendations of a Committee comprising of concerned Regional Director and a member of TAAI.
- The application for renewal/extension shall be addressed to the Regional Director of the concerned region as per the following addresses.
- The Regional Director (East), India Tourism, “Embassy”, 4, Shakespeare Sarani, Kolkata
- The Regional Director (West), India Tourism, 123, M. Karve Road, Opp. Church Gate,
- The Regional Director (North), India Tourism, 88 – Janpath, New Delhi
- The Regional Director (South), India Tourism, 154, Anna Salai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
- The Regional Director (North – East), India Tourism, Asom Paryatan Bhawan, 3rd Floor, Near Nepali Mandir, A. K. Azad Road, Paltan Bazar, Guwahati
- The renewal / extension, thereafter, shall be granted for five years after Inspection conducted by a Committee comprising of concerned Regional Director and a member of TAAI, on an application made by the Travel Agent along with the requisite fee / documents.
- The documents received from applicants after scrutiny in all respects will be acknowledged by the Travel Trade Division in respect of first approval and by the concerned Regional Director for renewal. The inspection for first approval / renewal shall be conducted by the Inspection Team within a period of sixty working days from the receipt of complete application.
- The following conditions must be fulfilled by the Travel Agency for grant of recognition by Ministry of Tourism.
- The application for grant of recognition / renewal shall be in the prescribed form and submitted in duplicate along with the required documents.
- The travel Agency should have a minimum Paid up Capital or (Capital employed) of Rs.3.00 lakh duly supported by the Audited Balance Sheet/ Chartered Accountant’s Certificate.
- (c) The Travel Agency should be approved by International Air Transport Association (IATA) or should be General Sales Agent (GSA) / Passenger Sales Agent (PSA) of an IATA member Airlines.
- The Travel Agency should have been in operation for a minimum period of one year before the date of application.
- The minimum office space should be at least 150 sq. ft for rest of India and 100 sq. ft for hilly areas which are above 1000 meters from sea level. Besides, the office may be located in a neat and clean surrounding and equipped with telephone, fax and computer reservation system etc. There should be sufficient space for reception and easy access to toilet facilities.
- The Travel Agency should be under the charge of the Owner or a full time member who is adequately trained, experienced in matters regarding ticketing, itineraries, transport, accommodation facilities, currency, customs regulations and tourism and travel related services. Besides this, greater emphasis may be given to effective communication skills, knowledge of foreign languages, other than English.
There should be a minimum of four qualified staff out of which at least one should have Diploma / Degree in Tourism & Travel Management from a recognized University, IITTM or an institution approved by AICTE. The owner of the firm would be included as one of the qualified employees.
The academic qualifications may be relaxed in case of the other two staff members who are exceptionally experienced personnel in Airlines, Shipping, Transport and PR agencies, Hotel and other Corporate Bodies and those who have worked for three years with IATA / UFTA agencies and also those who have two years experience with Ministry of Tourism approved Travel Agencies.
For the agencies located in the North – Eastern region, remote and rural areas, there should be a minimum of two staff out of which one should be a qualified employee with a Diploma / Degree in Tourism & Travel Management from a recognized University, IITTM or an institution approved by AICTE. The owner of the firm would be included as one of the qualified employees.
- The Travel Agency should be an income-tax assesses and should have filed Income Tax Return for the current assessment year.
- Disclaimer : The Travel Agency should employ only Regional LevelGuides trained and licensed by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and State Level Guides approved by the State Governments. The implementation of this clause would be subject to the decision of Hon’ble High Court of Rajasthan in Writ Petition No. 5607 / 2004 and other Hon’ble Courts.
- (i) For outsourcing any of the services relating to tourists, the travel agencies shall use approved specialized agencies in the specific field of activity.
- The Travel Agency will be required to pay a non-refundable fee of Rs.3, 000/- while applying for the recognition and renewal of Head Office as well as each Branch Office. The fee will be payable to the Pay and Accounts Officer, Ministry of Tourism, in the form of a Bank Draft.
- The recognition / renewal will be granted to the Head Office of the Travel Agency. Branch Offices will be approved along with the Head Office or\ subsequently, provided the particulars of the Branch Offices are submitted to Ministry of Tourism for recognition and concerned Regional Director for renewal and accepted by it.
- The Travel Agency so granted recognition / renewal shall be entitled to such incentives and concessions as may be granted by the Government from time to time and shall abide by the terms and conditions of recognition as prescribed from time to time by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
- Even though the scheme of granting approval of recognition to service providers of Travel Trade is voluntary, in nature, there is a need to have a pro – active role of Ministry of Tourism and Travel Trade to ensure that more and more service providers seek approval and then service the tourists. There is also a need to educate the stakeholders as well as consumers against the potential risk of availing services through the unapproved service providers.
- It shall be mandatory for an approved service provider of Travel Trade to prominently display the Certificate of approval of recognition given by Ministry of Tourism in the office by pasting it on a board or in a picture frame so that it is visible to a potential tourist.
- The decision of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in the matter of recognition / renewal shall be final. However, MOT may in their discretion refuse to recognize / renew any firm or withdraw / withhold at any time recognition / renewal already granted with the approval of the Competent Authority. Before such a decision is taken, necessary Show Cause Notice would invariably be issued and the reply considered on merit. This will be done after careful consideration and generally as a last resort. Circumstances in which withdrawal is affected would also be indicated.