India Assist: A Showcase Startup of the Government of India

Everyone loves to Travel. In fact, once we are out of our hometowns, we turn into a traveller. But, as Murphy says, every good aspect of life has a bad angle associated with it, and so does travelling.

There can be many unforeseen issues that can harm us and ruin our travel experiences. Safety, baggage loss, theft, unpredictable or sudden medical Issues,  altercation, transit, or loss etc. are some of the concerns we regularly face as a traveller. We might also need some information or suggestions on what to do, where to eat, and useful information to get through the day.

For foreigners travelling to India, language and cultural issues play a big role in deciding whether to go or not. Considering the Indian geography, even for domestic travellers, language and culture can be a cause of bad experiences while travelling.

And when it comes to seeking assistance, we find it missing. There is a huge void to provide on-ground assistance to travellers across the globe. When we have a medical emergency or an accident, normally we find no one around to ask for help. This is stressful as we are unfamiliar with the place, its people and are not sure about where to go.

This is where India Assist, a travel-related assistance platform comes into the picture to smoothen out the problems. India Assist Travel has come up with a technological tool to provide assistance to tourists. Tourists from all over the world including India can avail of the services which have been crafted to custom-fit traveller needs.

India Assist, founded by Ex- Vice President, the IPL team- Deccan Chargers (Harish Khatri), is a ‘Showcase Startup of the Government of India’ funded by Foreign Direct Investment. IA, in fact, is one of the only 50 service startups from the entire Service Industry across India which have been identified by Govt. of India as ‘Showcase Startups’.

The startup has been launched to provide ground assistance and distress management services covering 100+ cities across the country and international markets. With a motive of bridging the gap and enhancing the travel experience in India, the IA team dedicated 5 years of determination and hard work to launch the product now.

Winner of the ‘Concept of the Year Award’ from Franchise India, IA is integrated with prime Industrial bodies like ASSOCHAM, CII, FICCI, PHD Chambers of Commerce and is also immersed in policy formation for the tourist industry. It had already set up its presence with a team of Ex CEOs, Investment Bankers, Law Partners, and other Senior Level professionals across 100+ cities across the globe. IA is FDI Funded and many other prominent Industrialist investors from different industries are part of IA.

In a recent conversation with Mr Khatri, we learned more about his venture, and what has been the team’s experiences since the launch and also during the recent pandemic that had completely crippled the Travel Industry. He narrated how his team helped a lot of stranded foreigners who had exhausted all their monies and were stuck in various parts of India.

“There is no centralised mechanism to assist and streamline the needs of travellers in the world. In times of need, they approach locals and are likely to get unverified assistance from them. Through IA we are trying to create a centralised mechanism wherein, through a mobile app, they can get the best solutions to their queries,” says Mr Khatri.

Mr Khatri added, “Our App guides you through possible language barriers, and difficult situations you encounter, and assists you throughout your trip, whenever you need us. It tracks you throughout your trip, delivers information and guidance however you require, and provides you with immediate assistance at the point of distress. By downloading the app and registering for our Travel Assistance service you are giving yourself a tension-free trip.”

 

India Assist IA App:

It is a subscription-based platform available to tourists on both iOS and Android, acting as an intermediary that connects a person in distress with the appropriate agencies. It goes above and beyond the traditional protection offered by travel insurance. Where a travel insurance policy will protect against the financial loss of a stolen phone or lost bag, IA will send someone to help customers at the site of the robbery, take them to the police station to help them file a report, and drop them safely at their hotel.

India Assist acts as a mediator that connects a person in time of need to the right mode of solution in situations of distress. IA also has a Meet & Greet service, especially for solo travellers. This service focuses on providing them with a pick-and-drop service from any of the points of arrival in the city like the airport, train station and bus terminals, to their point of destination chaperoned by our on-ground team to ensure their safe travel at odd hours.”

IA is using technology to bring SOS assistance and help in India. Their operational vertical is in the space of Travel currently with plans of expanding into senior care and other sectors too.

The vertical offers services 24×7, and is a logical partner to many tourism players making it a unique and stand-alone player in an untouched market space within the tourism industry. India Assist can be immensely helpful in changing perceptions among foreigners, giving confidence to them in Indian Tourism and making their travel distress free. Service like India Assist is a need of an hour, to enable India to reach among the top 25 tourist destinations of the world.

Mr Khatri says that now we are now looking to work closely with stakeholders from the tourism industry whom they look upon not as competitors, but as partners. All stakeholders like airlines, hotels, travel agents, OTAs, government authorities, media etc. need to support the cause of assistance to travellers and we are more than willing to partner with them to take care of their customers whenever they need any assistance. We hope to partner with state and central government agencies and other stakeholder associations to endorse our services. Furthermore, we are also creating affiliate partners and contacts in the tourism ecosystem wherein we enable the stakeholders to provide our services to their customers.

 

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