Key tourism bodies on Thursday met Amitabh Kant, chief executive of government think tank Niti Aayog, to seek support from the government for survival and revival of tour operators and other stakeholders in the tourism industry.
Pronab Sarkar, president of Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) along with Capt. Swadesh Kumar, president, Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) and P.P. Khanna, president, Association of Domestic Tour Operators Association of India (ADTOI) put forward their pain points and measures that government should take to provide relief to the industry.
"The inbound tour operators who bring in foreign tourists and earn valuable foreign exchange for the country are on the verge of collapsing due to covid-19 pandemic and need urgent help to survive as there is zero billing and consequently zero cash flow," said IATO Sarkar.
He sought financial support for tour operators so that they do not close down and retain their experienced staff after the covid-19 is controlled and tourism is back to business.He sought under MSME Special Non-collateral and interest free long term loans (5 to 10 years) to be provided to the tour operators for survival of business and aggressive marketing once tourism is back to business.
In addition, IATO sought an increase in incentive offered in service export from India Scheme (SEIS) from 7% to 10 % which will allow them to offer competitive packages vis a vis neighbouring countries.
Niti Aayog's assured his full support to the tourism industry.
IATO has been seeking deferring statutory duties for a year, a moratorium on bank loan instalments for at least 12 months after the lockdown is lifted without penal interest, and full GST (goods and services tax) holiday for the tourism, travel and hospitality industry for 12 months.
The apex body estimates that 38 million jobs associated with tourism are at stake and that the economy can lose revenue of about ₹5 trillion in the next year.