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Thursday, October 5, 2023

World Tourism Day: Tour Operators conduct a Rally, Seeking Government’s Support for Tourism Industry


New Delhi: On the occasion of World Tourism Day, over 200 tour operators took onto Delhi streets in a drive-around car rally, as a peaceful way to highlight the challenges that are being faced by the tourism industry in India and to seek support from the government in saving several businesses from being shut and in-turn saving any further job losses in the industry.

Mr. Sunil Mishra, Director, Cosmos Tours, who was also one of the organisers of the rally said that this rally is our way to request to the government to support the industry, we have some very small requests like getting the SEIS amounts released, soft loans for companies registered under MSME’s, relief package for small companies with turnover below 10 crores, etc. Government is our guardian, we want the government to help us”

The COVID crisis and the worldwide travel restrictions that soon followed it, have caused several businesses to shut down almost overnight. The ones who survived the initial few months with a hope getting governments support and hope of improving circumstances, now face a threat to their survival and almost imminent job losses in the sector.

The rally concluded at India Gate with an appeal made to Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, making the following requests on behalf of the Tourism and hospitality industry

  • SEIS ( A regular subsidy) – Immediate Release for FY 2019-20 & Enhancement to 10 % for FY 2020-21.
  • Atma Nirbhar Loans: Collateral Free & Deferred loans with low interests @ 6% with moratorium till October,2022 with an enhancement from 20% to 50%.
  • Tourism Ministry, Government of India approved and MSME Registered to be given Soft Loans even if they do not have past borrowings.
  • Entry Fees to be either free or, reduced at all Monuments and National Parks till March, 2022. * Road taxes on Tourist Vehicles to be withdrawn or, reduced till March, 2022.
  • Abolish tax regimes like TCS that put Indian companies at a disadvantage. Clients and overseas tour operators would be incentivized to book directly with destination companies. This would entail severe losses of revenue including foreign exchange to the Indian government.
  • Higher Income Tax exemption limits to smaller companies
  • Subsidies electricity and license charges for hotels till March, 2022.
  • Create Tourism Bubbles between Friendly Nations with a simple VISA regime.
  • Faster RT-PCR Tests and results so as to facilitate travel between Countries

It is expected that the requests if fulfilled by the government can help the tourism fraternity of 5 Crore Families to survive the current challenges and be alive as well as robust in taking advantage of the pent up travels that are expected to happen at the end of the pandemic when vengeance tourism is largely anticipated.

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