New Delhi: 3rd April: Amid the Covid-19 outbreak, the world’s call for travellers to return ignores the reality of cancelled flights, lockdowns and information black-outs. Nearly 1,600 foreign tourists are presently stranded in Goa alone. These are people from Germany, Russia and other European countries.
A news report in The Guardian stated that there are thousands of Australians trapped in India’s dramatic lockdown. They are running out of food and facing threats of eviction. Rising to meet the crisis head-on is India Assist, a young digital startup that provides foreign travellers in India, app-based verified information & on ground assistance.
In a pan-India shout-out, supported and amplified in digital reach by many leading travel influencers, India Assist reached out to stranded foreigners. In just two days as many as 200 people had downloaded the app and appealed for information and help.
India Assist has successfully been able to assist many of these foreigners stranded in various part of country to reach Delhi by making their travel arrangements with the help of local authorities and verified cab services. Most of these are American nationals. Since American evacuations are still on, we are hoping they will be able to catch flights still being operated by Japan Airlines for a few more days, and reach safely to their homeland.
The India Assist team has been working 24×7 talking to each person who reached out for help, coordinating with their embassies to procure travel passes to enable them to reach nearest airports and resolving emotional and other issues to the best of their abilities in a lockdown situation.
The IA team has helped them recharge their mobiles phone, protected them from financial frauds and over charging during this period. The foreigner is connected to them 24×7 through the inbuilt chat on the India Assist app. And is being provided verified information. The service is being provided free of cost.
India Assist is working very closely with The Travel Agent Association of India (TAAI) for on ground support in all major cities of India.
Says Harish Khatri, the founder of India Assist, “Because of our cutting edge technology we have created a proper eco-system of reaching out to travellers and giving end to end solutions and monitoring every query/solution live. Our team is trained in supporting foreigners and their queries, which is currently adding a lot of value in supporting stranded foreigners in these unprecedented times.”
This is a stellar example of Digital India using technology for problem solving. The India Assist platform is built for tourists travelling in India. It has the capability of inbuilt chat, which helps to support multiple queries at the same time. It can capture their live location automatically, which helps in providing on ground assistance swiftly and smoothly. The app supports Google and Apple platforms, and is extremely user friendly. Apart from that they have a backend team which is monitoring the foreigners flow on the app and responding to them 24×7 basis.