New Delhi: In a major relief to hotel owners, tour operators, travel agents and tourist transporter, the Modi government on Tuesday announced that it was extending the validity period of approvals and classification of hotels and other accommodation units till June 30.Also Read - Suffering From Runny Nose And Sore Throat? You May Actually be Infected With Covid-19: Study

“Considering the current situation when the hospitality industry is going through a very difficult time in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown that has severely impacted the accommodation sector, it has been decided that validity of approval or certifications of hotels and other accommodation units whose project approvals and classification have expired are deemed to be extended till June 30,” the ministry said in a statement. Also Read - Omicron Scare: How Uttar Pradesh is Preparing to Tackle New COVID Variant | Key Points

Notably, the ministry classifies hotels under the star rating system to conform to the expected standards for different classes of tourists. The certification is valid for a period of five years. Also Read - Address 'Not Found', Phones 'Switched Off': Maharashtra on Alert After 100 Foreign Returnees go Untraceable Amid Omicron Scare

Due to the postponement of inspection work and application scrutiny during the lockdown period, it has decided to allow six months’ relaxation or extension to all categories of tour operators for their approval with the ministry.

However, the relaxations are subject to certain conditions:

(i) The previous approval expired or the current approval expires during the period of 20th March, 2020 (i.e. the date of issuance of order by the Ministry for discontinuation of inspection work by India Tourism offices) till continuation of lockdown, and

(ii) They applied for renewal before expiry of their current/previous approval.

(With inputs)