India Dispatch: Iqbal Mulla, the president of the Travel Agents Association of India, talks about plans by the UK government to introduce a cash bond for Indian travellers.
Indian travel agents flooded with calls over UK cash bond plans
Iqbal Mulla, the president of the Travel Agents Association of India, talks about plans by the United Kingdom to introduce a cash bond for Indian travellers.
What are your thoughts on the UK's pilot scheme to force Indian travellers to pay a cash bond?
India is one of the most emerging markets in tourism. The United Nations World Tourism Organization has predicted that we are eventually going to send 50 million people abroad. India is a fast emerging, growing economy. If you feel that Indians are going to settle or Indians are going stay back and become a liability to that country, those days have gone. India is emerging as a self-sufficient nation today.
Hasn't the UK been trying to attract more visitors from India?
I've attended about four or five roadshows from the UK. On the one side, they are trying to encourage Indians to visit the UK, then on the other side they are putting restrictions, so their whole efforts are meaningless.
How popular is the UK as a destination among Indians?
UK is a beautiful country and especially London is a beautiful city, so all Indians want to see it, especially London once in a lifetime. It's very popular. A lot of Indian movies are shot in the UK. Definitely the new generation that are watching those movies want to go there as soon as possible.
Have travel agents in India received any information from the authorities to let you know what you should tell customers and provide information on how the bond should paid?
We haven't had a clear picture. Everybody was taken aback. All the people in the travel industry are very worried and they keep asking us what to do. We have been flooded with a number of calls. I'm in the process of taking it to the authorities now.