In order to provide the various services, it is beneficial for a travel agent to have formal recognition from airlines, IATA, hotels and other Government Organizations. One of the most important recognition is the IATA (International Air Transport Association) recognition, which is recognized world-wide. This enables an agent to issue tickets for most international airlines throughout the world. The Ministry of Tourism also grants recognition to travel agents to act as tour operators and excursion agents.
Setup for a Travel Agency
Setting up a travel agency in India requires a high degree of skill and organizational capacity. It is necessary to obtain a number of recognitions and approvals to start a travel agency. For getting the recognitions easily, the following conditions need to be followed:
- Experience in travel industry and love for travel.
- The agency is centrally located, preferably in a business area and easily accessible to the general public. A ground floor location is preferable.
- • Should have been in business for at least one year and must demonstrate its desire and ability to promote travel in professional manner.
- Have competent and experienced staff to quote fares and schedules, make reservations and issue tickets.
- Attractive and appealing tourism office environment.
- Have adequate finances.
- Maintain ethical standards of business in its dealings with passengers or the principals.
- Be able to obtain the required Government licenses where applicable. The travel agents in India offering documentation services, like passports and visas, have to be on the approval list of Regional Passport Office of the Ministry of External Affairs as well as on the Reserve Bank of India for release of foreign exchange and for eligibility of passengers to travel.
- Have the approval of International Air Transport Association to represent member airlines. Separate recognition is required for passenger and cargo sales. This recognition is granted only for at least one year. The airlines insist on certain minimum financial guarantees for IATA approval. Similarly, Indian Airlines demands separate bonding for its approval. Private Airlines in India accept IATA approved travel agents for their sales distribution.
- Have the approval of Indian Airlines to sell Indian Airlines tickets. Here again, separate recognition is needed for selling passenger tickets and booking air cargo on Indian Airlines
- Have the approval of the Department of Tourism to claim publicity and promotional benefits for tour operators handling inbound tourists.