Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), the premier, nodal, and largest Travel and Tourism Association in India. With the Union Finance Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman announcing the Relief package to boost the Indian Economy in the fight against Covid-19 for Travel and Tourism Stakeholders on 28th June 2021, we had expected that the Government undertakes our suggestions for more direct relief for our member stakeholders, so as to support and encourage overall stakeholder, rather than limiting to 904 Travel & Tourism Stakeholders (TTS) registered with MoT.
TAAI has been recommending to its members to register with MoT over the years but the process is tedious and requires a lot of documentation, which discourages ease of doing business.
Also Read: TAAI’s Open Letter to PM Narendra Modi
Jyoti Mayal, President of TAAI, stated that we expected much more than what was announced. However, we believe the relief has focused more on domestic and inbound travel and only those registered with the Ministry of Tourism (904). It is pertinent to note that with over 3000 members of TAAI alone, only those registered with MoT shall benefit. Our members have applied for MoTrecognition and due to the pandemic over 200 have still not been approved. Most of the members engaged in Domestic tourism are registered with State Tourisms, with specific concentration to their regions. The outreach of this relief is minuscule.
Adding to that, Vice President, Jay Bhatia stated that, appreciating that finally, the Government recognized our trade activities, but the impact of this relief shall not be overall. Less than 10% of the actual stakeholders only shall benefit as per the FMs package. To widen the scope of this relief, the Hon. FM must include those registered under MSME. We urge the Government, that all TTS registered under GST and who have already been contributing to the exchequer over the years, should be recipients of this relief package, he added.
In our communication dated 24th May 2021, we had appealed to the Government to ensure employee benefits likePF, Gratuity, Professional Tax, ESIC, etc are synchronized, so as to do business effectively and smoothly, which shall motivate our member agencies to generate more revenue for our country.
Many of the member agencies are involved in Airline ticketing and Outbound activity apart from servicing domestic and inbound travel and tourism. This being the largest service sector in India, generating over 9% of the National GDP and employing over 10% of the workforce. We ensure that travel and tourism to and from India are promoted to generate bi-lateral trade around the world. This was stated by Bettaiah Lokesh, Hon. Secretary-General, TAAI.
Hon. National Treasurer, Shreeram Patel, stated that TAAI had appealed to the Government to grant Income Tax holidays for our employees as well as member agencies for the next 5years. Further, a moratorium for all our employees and members for 2 years on all their EMI’s / interest was requested.
Although the Hon. Finance Minister has granted Free One Month Tourist Visasuntil 31st March 2022 or 5Lakh visitors, this shall only be feasible and a win-win, if GST is waived for international tourist and interstate GST credit be permitted for stakeholders, that too when flights commence and we welcome international tourist to India. Our infrastructure, safety, and hygiene to handle international tourists due to covid-19 are still not at par with global standards.
We await more clarity and acceptance of our proposals from the Finance Ministry and Ministry of Tourism.