‘Take tour packages from approved operators only’

Selection of hotel, facilities, safety standards, location vital

The need to purchase tour packages from approved and reputed tour operators and have medical and travel insurance for outbound travel have come into focus with the tragic death of eight tourists from Kerala at a hotel in Nepal.

With reports from Nepal confirming that the tourists died of asphyxiation after using gas heater in their room, the selection of hotel, facilities being offered, safety standards, and location of the property gain importance. It is yet to be confirmed whether the 15-member group had purchased the tour package from an approved tour operator and whether they had travel and medical insurance.

Good hotels

“Had the group purchased the tour package to Nepal from an approved agent, this would not have happened. All approved tour operators offer only good hotels with prescribed safety and security standards and facilities, insist on travel insurance and brief them on the dos and don’ts before departure,” says Benny Thomas of the Outbound Tour Operators Association.

As the kin of the deceased are in the dark about the Nepal trip, it is inferred that it was worked out after the group reached Delhi. Even in Kerala, 60 of 1,200 tour operators have registration with India and Kerala Tourism. “One can save money while going for cheap tour packages. But, tragic incidents such as the one in Nepal highlight the need for depending on approved tour operators and for staying in good hotels and resorts in good locations,” adds Mr. Thomas. “European countries insist on travel insurance and we make it mandatory for all outbound travel. The premium is ₹1,500 for a week up to the age of 60 and will change depending on age. Still, it is inexpensive, compared to the tour cost and the risks involved,” he added.

Abraham George, Member, National Tourism Advisory Council, says they had been demanding at different levels for norms to prevent mushrooming of unlicensed travel agents to prevent holidayers from being taken for a ride. From Kerala, Far Eastern countries followed by European countries are the most sought after.

Insurance must

Ministry of External Affairs guidelines also ask those going abroad to take appropriate travel and medical insurance that covers for any unexpected cost.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 1:45:29 PM |

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