The issue was flagged by Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) in a meeting with tourism ministry on Thursday. "We have received complaints from tour operators in Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. In Agra, hotels are refusing rooms to Italian tourists. In Rajasthan, Italian tourists are being asked by hotels to undergo medical checks before check in despite showing no symptoms of infection," said IATO president Pronab Sarkar.
Till now, 31 cases of the virus have been detected in India. These include 16 Italian tourists who tested positive in Rajasthan.
“The tourism ministry has assured that communication is being sent to states to see that tourists aren't unnecessarily harassed. Also, the health ministry is being asked to issue travel advisories for those not infected," Sarkar said. "Hotels across the country increased security after terror attacks. Similarly hotels could procure thermal scanners to screen their guests," said Subhash Goyal, chairman of Stic Travel Group.
IATO has also requested the tourism ministry to set up a 24x7 control room and an online mechanism to assist foreign visitors in case of an emergency.
Coronavirus has hit global tourism with customers canceling and defering trips. Governments too have issued advisories warning their citizens to defer non essential travel to countries with large number of virus cases.
"Due to the sharp drop in business it shall become diffifult for travel agents to survive. Many jobs will be at stake. The government should provide tax rebates for travel agents and reduction and waiver in interest rates," said Travel Agents Association of India Jyoti Mayal.