The hospitality sector in India is eagerly waiting for Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to announce immediate measures to support the pandemic-battered industry. Hotel bodies are asking for a loan moratorium with low interest, tax holidays, to infra status for the sector in Union Budget 2022.
Owing to covid-induced lockdowns and restrictions, the Indian hotel industry has taken a hit of over ₹1.30 lakh crore in revenue for the fiscal year 2020-21.
“The entire hospitality industry is hanging on by a thread and only a special relief package can reinvigorate the industry," Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President, Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) told Mint.
FHRAI, which claims to have over 55,000 hotels as members, has sought a moratorium extension of a minimum of one year for loans availed under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) citing the successive waves and continued disruptions.
“The government should make some Budget announcements and incentives for the employees for taking up domestic travel," said Mushtaq Ahmad Chaya, Member, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI).
“The government should consider making budget provisions for GST refund to hospitality and travel industry for some specific time to bounce back post covid measures to revive tourism," Chaya added. Chaya further demands a tax holiday for the tourism sector at least for one year to give new life to this ailing industry.
PHDCCI seeks special budget allocations for Jammu & Kashmir to develop new tourism circuits.
Highlighting that the hospitality industry employs nearly 4.5 crore people and provides livelihoods to around 16 crore people, the Hotel Association of India (HAI) has also sought 'infrastructure' status for industry to help enable hotels to avail benefits of lower taxation, utility tariffs, and simplified approval process for projects.
"Additionally, the road to recovery can also be aided through measures like extended moratorium, rationalization of taxes and facilitating ease of doing business," said HAI in a press note.
Emphasizing that the hospitality industry has largely suffered due to erratic decision-making with different sorts of lockdown in different states, Udit Kumar, Co-Founder and CEO Brij Hotels, says that it is imperative that restrictions are eased with a clear road map.
"Govt should also incentivize hiring at the bottom of the pyramid by making a framework for partial payment of salaries in the forms of direct transfers to the team members being hired, this will help alleviate part of the massive job losses in the sector," Kumar adds.
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