Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced a new loan guarantee scheme for tourism sector
The impact of the relief package announced by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for travel agents would be “minuscule”, as it covered only those who were registered with the Ministry of Tourism and left out a vast majority of those who were affiliated with State tourism boards , the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has said.
The Minister on Monday announced a new loan guarantee scheme for the tourism sector, under which tourist guides recognised by the Ministry of Tourism and State governments can avail a loan up to ₹ 1 lakh each and Travel and Tourism Stakeholders (or tour operators and organisations) recognised by the Ministry of Tourism can get a loan up to ₹ 10 lakh each.
“We had expected that the government undertakes our suggestions for more direct relief for our member stakeholders, rather than limiting it to 904 Travel and Tourism Stakeholders (TTS) registered with the Ministry of Tourism. It is pertinent to note that out of the 3,000 members of TAAI alone, only those registered with the Ministry of Tourism shall benefit. Most of the members engaged in domestic tourism are registered with State Tourism (Boards). The outreach of this relief is minuscule. Less than 10% of the actual stakeholders only shall benefit as per the FM’s package,” the TAAI said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
It appealed to the government to expand the coverage of its relief measures.
“To widen the scope of this relief, the Finance Minister must include those registered under the MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises). We urge the government that all travel and tourism stakeholders registered under the GST and who have already been contributing to the exchequer over the years should be recipients of the relief package,” said TAAI vice president Jay Bhatia.
Free tourist visas
On the government’s move to grant free tourist visas to 5 lakh visitors, the grouping said the move would be feasible only if the GST was waived for international tourists and inter-State GST credit was permitted to stakeholders.
The body recommended to the government measures such as an income-tax holiday for five years and moratorium on EMIs for two years for travel agencies and their employees.
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