Seeking nominal GST rates: IATO
attention from them. We hope for a better future for Indian tourism and that we are able to bring in more tourists into the country.
QWhat are some of the concerns voiced by your members?
The number one concern is high taxes on tourism which has put us in a difficult situation. We support GST and will take the matter with the Finance Ministry directly. We request that GST should be at a nominal level between six to eight per cent. Only then shall we be able to compete and grow our business. We therefore request all or state governments to take up this issue with the GST Council. There are many other issues which we shall take up separately.
QDoes IATO have any recommendations for the Odisha Tourism Board?
Yes, there are some recommendations for the Government of Odisha and we will send them to Dr. Mona Sharma. Odisha has one of the best state tourism policies and investment opportunities for tourism infrastructure should be popularised to attract more investors and suitable land should be created for this. The state needs a bigger international airport so that it can handle more passenger capacity. We suggest a government policy to have a PPP model of investment for the development of international airports just as Kochi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad have done. I want to also highlight the needs for air connectivity between Odisha and Varanasi that will help the Buddhist Circuit.
Also, there are many untapped tourist sites like Lake Chilika and activities such as water sports, wildlife parks, fishing and bird-watching, etc. that need development and promotion. Odisha also needs to promote its various festivals, its heritage monuments, its sports events, pilgrimage, etc. For this, the state needs to conduct Fam tours for the trade, attend trade exhibitions in India and abroad and conduct roadshows besides being present on social media. It also needs to have clear guidelines on tribal tourism which is its USP.