‘Make entry to monuments free for foreign tourists’

Kolkata, Nov 9 (IANS) Entry to historical monuments in India, which are popular on the tourist trails of foreign nationals, should be made free for the time being, a tourism expert said on Wednesday, following the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes in the country.

“Many have paid a fortune to visit sites like Taj Mahal in India and they have planned their trips at least six months in advance. How will they pay entry fee and other associated expenses after the demonetisation? For the time being, the fee should be waived to allow tourists to experience what they had come for,” Gour Kanjilal, executive director of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) told IANS.

With banks and ATMs being shut during the day, Kanjilal said the tourists would be stranded.

“Foreign exchange counters are not accepting the demonetised currencies and the tourists are unable to exchange their money,” he observed.

Stressing the months of November and December are peak season for tourists, Kanjilal reckoned the move will impact the industry.

“Already tourism has taken a hit due to India’s negative image. Issues like pollution and terrorism threat have dented India’s image. Now, with the currency factor thrown in, the over-a-lakh travellers who visit India each month, will be affected,” he added.

–IANS

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