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Agra Tourism to adopt e-payment modes

AGRA: Following complaints by tourists regarding the unavailability of cashless options of buying Taj Mahal tickets, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has finally installed credit/debit card swipe machines at the counters to facilitate payments.

The installation of these swipe machines can result in a major turnaround for footfall at the monument, which was suffering from a fall in tourists since November 8, when the currency revamp was announced, reports India Today.

Although e-tickets to the monument were available on the ASI website, most tourists prefer to buy tickets when they arrive at the monument, especially foreign tourists.

Agra Tourist Welfare Chamber Secretary Vishal Sharma said that not only the Taj Mahal, but a large number of tourist joints like restaurants, hotels, emporiums and curio shops are fast adopting cashless payment options in order to stay in business at a time when cash is a hard commodity to acquire.

He said that the number of tourists had indeed been affected by demonetisation but tour operators are now encouraging cashless payments, offering completely cashless tour packages and promoting a cashless visit to the Taj Mahal.

Already, he said, train, air and bus tickets could be purchased with electronic payments, there were multiple websites offering hotels, restaurants and cab bookings online through e-payments.

Sharma said that on an average about 30,000 tourists visit Agra every day in a season, but last month this number dropped to 20,000.

He added that there were about 450 hotels and 250 registered tour guides in Agra so at least 7,000 swipe machines needed to be installed in the tourist zone alone.

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