"The scheme will set standards towards accreditation and add value to the dependability and reliability to the aggregators in the online space operating in the organised tourism sector," he added.
The recognition as an approved OTA will be granted by the ministry for five years, based on the inspection report and recommendations of a committee comprising representatives of The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) and The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), and approval of the chairman of The Hotel & Restaurant Approval & Classification Committee (HRACC).
The official said such a scheme for accreditation was necessary as letting the market operate unhindered could lead to unscrupulous players to vitiate it through unethical trade practices.
"In order to engage with the OTAs constructively, it is imperative that a system is put in place with qualitative benchmarks to accredit them. The paramount concern would be the assurance of quality of service delivery for the customer by the OTA," he said.
The guidelines for approval/re-approval of OTAs will ensure that there are adequate safeguards against deficiency of service, alternate arrangements, if needed, and punitive deterrence.
It shall be mandatory for an approved OTA to prominently display in a photo frame the certificate of approval given by the ministry in its office premises so that it is visible to a potential tourist and also under a prominent link on the home page of its main website/online portal.
The ministry has also listed a set of criterions for the OTAs to be operational. These include parameters which state that to apply for accreditation, OTAs should have been in continuous operation for a minimum period of three years prior to the date of application, have a minimum paid up capital (or capital employed) of Rs 1 crore, and have office premises under the charge of the owner with a minimum space of least 1000 sq ft.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)