This article on ‘Laws regulating Travel and Tour Services in India‘ was written by Pramod Sanap, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
In this article, we will be discussing the laws which regulate travel and tour services in India. As we now understand it, the tourism business has a variety of sectors, destinations, visitors, and challenges. Visitors from all over the world flock to India to see its numerous beauties which are recognized as their tourist destinations. The good news is that applying for a tourist visa is rather straightforward. The unending list of legal criteria to satisfy is the bad news. The confusing nature of the Indian court system doesn’t help either.
Although tourism is not explicitly listed anywhere in India, it is included in the Union, Concurrent, and State lists. The union list includes topics like immigration regulations, aviation, historic sites and monuments, shipping, and highways; the concurrent list includes topics like wild animal and bird protection, forests, and so forth; and the state list includes topics like a domestic pilgrimage, theatres, and so forth. Many pieces of legislation have surfaced in relation to these challenges over time.
Laws Regulating the Travel and Tour Industry
The root of many tourism-related problems is the lack of any established norms controlling trade. Everyone would be able to determine if the services offered are acceptable after service quality standards have been set and are continuously modified in response to market needs.
What is Agency?
Perhaps no industry uses the term “agency” more than the tourism sector. However, the phrase is frequently misused and used to depict connections that the law would not actually regard to be those of an agency.
An agent is an individual who has been given permission to act on behalf of another person (the “principal”) in a way that has the potential to influence how the principal and a third party interact. In the travel business, the term “travel agent,” whether used online or in person, is very loosely defined and frequently used to refer to arrangements that go beyond the definition of an “agency.”
Is it necessary to register yourself as Travel Agent?
Although not required, registering as a travel agency recognized by the Government of India is beneficial and gives the travel agency recognition. The system for the recognition of travel agencies (TAs) aims to improve the level of service and quality in the travel and tourist sector. A travel agent must meet a few standards, including those relating to money invested, the number of personnel employed, the maintenance of minimum office space, and other conditions, in order to be recognized by the Government of India.
Furthermore, in order to become a Travel Agent recognized by the Government of India, an application must be submitted to the Ministry of Tourism in the manner specified.
In India, there are many laws that are either directly or indirectly related to tourism. Here are a few examples:
The Indian Forest Act, the Wildlife Protection Act, the Forest Conservation Act, the Air Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, the Environment Act, the National Environment Tribunal Act, the Coastal Zone Regulations, and other environmental laws are examples of those that are related to the environment.
For lodging, see The Sarais Act, the Department of Tourism’s regulations for classifying hotels, etc. For monuments, see The Ancient Monuments Act, the Archaeological Survey of India’s regulations, the Ministry of Culture’s guidelines, etc. The Indian Penal Code, the Consumer Protection Act, the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, and other laws protect tourists’ health and safety.
Similarly, to this, there are several laws, rules, and regulations that govern the transportation sector. These rules and laws, though, differ between states. State-by-state variations include the taxation of tourist coaches, their permission charge, etc.
The travel business has become increasingly specialized, and the typical traveler relies on a knowledgeable travel agent to provide sensible advice. The principals who designate travel companies to serve them rely on these approved agents to uphold the highest standards of ethical behaviour and salesmanship. Travel agents must follow procedural fairness and ethical principles due to the rising number of them and the scope of their services. TAAI has also been acknowledged as the voice of the Indian travel and tourism sector and stands for everything that is dynamic, professional, and ethical in our country’s travel-related activities.
It is also important to note that the travel agency cannot use unfair and unjust practices against the consumer even though there is a lack of regulation regarding the tour and travel industry still the consumer law would protect the consumer against such unfair and unjust practices of the travel agency.
The requirements must be met: the agency’s capital must be at a minimum of Rs. 3.00 lakh. Along with audited banking statements, a declaration from the Chartered Accountant outlining the agency’s capital investment is needed.
The organization must be authorized by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) or be a General or Passenger Sales agent for a carrier that has been so authorized. The organization was required for it to have been in existence for a minimum of a year prior to applying. The company’s office must be organized, maintained, and tidy in India. The workplace should be at least 100 square feet in regions greater than 1000 meters above sea level.
As we now understand it, the tourism business has a variety of sectors, destinations, visitors, and challenges. Visitors from all over the world flock to India to see its numerous beauties which are recognized as tourist destinations. There is a lack of regulation regarding the tour and travel industry in India despite this many other laws such as Consumer protection and others in a sense try to regulate the industry.
The government of India does provide for the registration of travel agents but it is not necessary even though when one registers for this there is a need for such a person to maintain certain standards related to the industry.
- Code of Ethics; available at: https://www.travelagentsofindia.com/code-ethics.php, (last visited on 14 February 2023).
- What is the law of travel agency and what do you need to know?; available at: https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=4ba97b84-e349-40b7-b413-d714b778b75d, (last visited on 14 February 2023).
- How To Become A Licensed Travel Agent In India?; available at: https://vakilsearch.com/blog/licensed-travel-agent-in-india/, (last visited on 14 February 2023).