By Krishnan Nayar New Delhi, 31st March, 2020 (WAM) – The Indian Ministry of Tourism today launched a portal called “Stranded in India” to help thousands of foreigners – including tourists from the Gulf – who arrived in India before the COVID-19 pandemic and are now stuck in various parts of the country following cancellation of domestic and international flights, trains and inter-state buses.
“The aim of the portal is to extend support to foreign tourists who are stranded in India and to disseminate information regarding the services that can be availed of by foreigners who are stuck far away from their homeland,” the government’s Press Information Bureau said in an announcement. “The portal aims to act as a support network for foreign tourists stuck in various parts of India.”
“Stranded in India” says in its introduction to those seeking the Tourism Ministry’s help that “the world is facing an unprecedented situation today. The Ministry of Tourism is with you in these difficult times. We are truly committed to the safety of one and all. If you are a foreign traveller stranded anywhere in India due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we can help you get in touch with the concerned authorities.”
The Press Information Bureau asserted that “it is a constant endeavour of the authorities in India to ensure the well-being of tourists, especially the ones that arrive here from foreign countries. Accordingly, the Ministry of Tourism is constantly staying vigilant and encouraging various initiatives to help the ones in need.”
The portal’s services may also help Indian citizens who live abroad and want to return to countries where they work or do business as expatriates.
The portal has the following information that will hopefully be of use to thousands of stranded foreigners at this time: comprehensive information about COVID-19 helpline numbers or call centres which foreigners can reach out to for help; information around state-based or regional tourism support infrastructure; help and support section to extend help to the ones in need of further information and connect foreign tourists to the concerned authorities.
The portal also has detailed of information on the round-the-clock helpline for worldwide coordination on COVID-19 of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs along with their contact information.
The Emirates News Agency, WAM, had exclusively reported on March 19 the setting up of this helpline with designated officers in charge of the Gulf region.