Tourism ministry urges Covid-19 insurance cover for foreign tourists

To be sure, insurance companies are already offering policies to cover Covid-19 related hospitalisation and travel disruption | Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Foreign tourists visiting India may be offered attractively priced Covid-19 insurance covers as a part of the tourism ministry's plans to revive the sector.

Over 10.9 million foreign tourists visited India in 2019. Inbound tourism, however, came to a standstill in March when the government suspended tourist visas as part of its lockdown measures. While these visa curbs are expected to continue for some time,  the tourism ministry is working on measures that will assure foreign tourists of safety and generate confidence about India in source markets when its doors open again.

The tourism ministry's additional director general, Rupinder Brar, said on Saturday the department is studying insurance polices introduced by Singapore and other countries. She added discussions are on with insurance companies and finance ministry on modalities of providing Covid-19 insurance cover while addressing an industry webinar.

Also on the cards is a promotional campaign that will highlight infrastructure progress alongside various places of interest within the country.

To be sure, insurance companies are already offering policies to cover Covid-19 related hospitalisation and travel disruption. Indian and global airlines such as SpiceJet, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic among others too are marketing Covid-19 insurance products to attract passengers.

In October, Indian government removed curbs on business visas and travel bodies are pitching for relaxation for tourist visas too. The Indian Association of Tour Operators has asked the government to atleast declare a date when leisure tourists will be able to visit India. Such an announcement would enable overseas tour operators to include India in their marketing plans for next year, it said. Secretary General of Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality Subhash Goyal said the government should  start by offering e-visas to citizens of countries with which India has an air travel bubble agreement.

The government however is in favour of calibrated steps regarding inbound travel and the current focus is on boosting domestic tourism. The tourism ministry also plans to release traveller videos which highlight safety measures undertaken by airlines and airports to generate more confidence.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel