Port Blair, May 21: To minimise the losses suffered and troubles faced by local Tour Operators, local Hotel Owners and visiting tourists during any natural calamities like cyclone, high wind, depression, earthquake etc., the Member of Parliament, Shri. Kuldeep Rai Sharma has requested the Chief Secretary, A&N Administration to introduce an insurance policy in collaboration with private players for visiting tourists.

During a recent meeting with the Chief Secretary, the Member of Parliament said that Andaman & Nicobar Islands are prone to natural calamities such as cyclones, earthquakes and heavy rainfall.

He said that every year we witness the unfortunate situation of tourists getting stranded on different Islands, requiring us to either risk sending private vessels or request the Indian Navy to evacuate them. “These sudden changes in travel plans cause significant inconvenience for tourists, who often face difficulties due to altered shipping schedules, change in flight plans, shortage of rooms and adverse weather conditions. In such circumstances, tourists often miss their flights, and many of them are unable to afford new tickets or make fresh hotel bookings after arriving in Andaman. Consequently, they suffer financial losses,” he added.

He pointed out that additionally, hotel owners also experience financial setbacks as they accommodate tourists for free or at minimal profit, displaying compassion despite the adverse impact on their business. “Adding to this, this also spoils the name of Andaman Tourism brand and concerned Tour operator,” he said.

To address these challenges, he proposed an insurance policy in collaboration with private players. Many such policies are already existing in online format.

The Member of Parliament added that these policies could be made available to arriving tourists in Andaman & Nicobar Islands at a nominal cost such as Rs. 100 or Rs. 200.

“By offering this insurance policy, we can ensure that in the event of any changes in travel plans due to natural calamities, both hotel owners and tour operators are not burdened with losses and tourists are appropriately compensated. It is worth mentioning that many foreign countries, especially small island nations have made travel insurance mandatory to safeguard visiting individuals in case of any natural calamity. Following this example, we can mitigate the financial hardships faced by tourists while also providing peace of mind to the local tour operators, hotel owners and the entire tourism industry,” he said.

He also urged the Chief Secretary to initiate discussions with relevant stakeholders to explore the feasibility of introducing such a travel insurance policy for the benefit of all.