Govt looking into hike in Delhi airport charges: Ahmed

Dubai: India`s Tourism Ministry has taken up with the Prime Minister`s office the issue of hike in charges by airports regulator AERA that has made travel costly, hitting budget tourists hard.

Minister of State for Tourism Sultan Ahmed said here that his ministry has taken up the hike in airport charges and users fee at the New Delhi International Airport with the Prime Minister`s Office and the Civil Aviation Ministry.

"The government is looking at the issue of recent hike in airfares (on account of hike in various charges) at the New Delhi International Airport. The matter has been taken up with the Prime Minister`s Office and Civil Aviation Ministry," he told reporters after the inauguration of Indian pavilion at the Arabian Travel Market here. The domestic tourists are suffering the pinch of the recent hike in airfares, he added.

The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) has decided to raise landing, parking and other charges by a whopping 346 per cent, effective May 15. The approximate increase in ticket pricing on account of passenger fee alone would be around Rs 290 in the domestic sector and Rs 580 in the international sector. About 50 entities from India`s tourism industry are taking part at the four-day event that got underway here on Monday.

Ahmed said India has taken several measures to promote tourism. "100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment has been allowed in tourism and hotel industry and new tourism destinations have been identified keeping the domestic tourists in mind," he said.

"In the year 2011-12 total number of foreign tourists arriving in India was 6.7 million and the Government has set a target of 10 million foreign tourist`s arrival over the next three years," the minister said. Responding to a question that people visiting the country on tourist visa have to wait for two months after their return for another visit, Ahmed said efforts are on to resolve the issue.