New govt, old de­mands, now what

With the Union Bud­get just round the cor­ner, spoke to the in­dus­try lead­ers. In­dus­try sta­tus for tourism and elim­i­nat­ing ser­vice tax topped the pri­or­ity list of stake­hold­ers.

TravTalk - India - - Bulletin -

This year’s bud­get will mark a change with the Make in In­dia pol­icy. Tourism holds greater po­ten­tial for job cre­ation even with low in­vest­ments and its im­pact can reach dis­tant lo­ca­tions, it can boost for­eign ex­change earn­ings. We are con­fi­dent our long de­mand for ex­tend­ing Ex­port Sta­tus to tourism will get pri­or­ity con­sid­er­a­tion. We are con­fi­dent mul­ti­ple tax­a­tion part will be done away in the bud­get. This gov­ern­ment is very dy­namic and we want to be with them. But there is also a strong need for in­fra­struc­ture. We, the stake­hold­ers (who are in a po­si­tion to in­vest), must be en­cour­aged to in­vest. There has to be a cut in taxes, ex­cise duty and cus­toms du­ties. Se­condly, ser­vice tax should be col­lected by the air­lines it­self. It should be in­clu­sive of all the com­mis­sions that the air­lines are pay­ing to peo­ple rather than ask­ing the air­line to bill the agent and then the agent bills the cus­tomer. It should be sim­pli­fied.

We have al­ready sub­mit­ted our pa­per on how out­bound tourism brings in more for­eign ex­change for the coun­try. The re­port was pre­pared by Ernst and Young. We want the gov­ern­ment to ac­knowl­edge the im­por­tance of out­bound tourism and thus, ex­empt us from ser­vice tax. Also, we need to give spe­cial sta­tus to the tourism in­dus­try. The in­dus­try needs more sops to re­alise its full po­ten­tial.

Guldeep Singh Sahni

Pres­i­dent, OTOAI Af­ter be­ing ig­nored for sev­eral years, In­dia's travel trade in­dus­try, now, has a rea­son to look for­ward with re­newed op­ti­mism. We have a Prime Min­is­ter who is very sup­port­ive and en­cour­ag­ing to­wards the so­cio - eco­nomic benefits of tourism. He is con­vinced about tourism be­ing a game changer. Ir­re­spec­tive of in­di­vid­ual poli­cies, in­dus­try per se, will ben­e­fit. We will have to see how the new AAP dis­pen­sa­tion in Delhi reacts, be­cause Delhi is a key pivot of the Golden Tri­an­gle.

Zakkir Ahmed

Pres­i­dent, TAFI Ser­vice tax should be com­pletely re­moved from sale of rooms, food and bev­er­ages. Ho­tels should be given sim­i­lar fi­nan­cial benefits as the in­fra­struc­ture sec­tor with the ceil­ing for in­vest­ment re­duced to ` 25 crore against the ex­ist­ing

` 200 crore. Ex­port Pro­mo­tion Cap­i­tal Goods (EPCG) and Served from In­dia Scheme (SFIS) li­cens­ing norms should be re­vis­ited and made sim­pler for the in­dus­try. Loans for build­ing ho­tels from banks must have a ten­ure of a min­i­mum 10 years as op­posed to the cur­rent three years, which makes no sense what­so­ever. Fi­nally, a na­tional pol­icy should be made which recog­nises the value of tourism as an en­gine of growth for the In­dian econ­omy and dramatically re­duces the ridicu­lous num­ber of li­censes which are re­quired to be main­tained by this in­dus­try.

Bharat Malkani

Pres­i­dent, HRAWI This bud­get will be a roadmap to how the NDA gov­ern­ment will get to the fig­ure of 20 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional tourists by 2020. Our ex­pec­ta­tion is that the fi­nance min­is­ter should per­mit and clas­sify the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor as a per­mis­si­ble in­fra­struc­ture ac­tiv­ity for ac­cess­ing tax-free bonds un­der Sec­tion 54 EC through No­ti­fied Fi­nan­cial In­sti­tu­tions. The Union Gov­ern­ment through an ap­pro­pri­ate leg­isla­tive amend­ment should en­sure that all states recog­nise tourism as an in­dus­try so that hos­pi­tal­ity es­tab­lish­ments can avail in­cen­tives and con­ces­sions un­der the industrial pol­icy of state gov­ern­ments viz. prop­erty tax, elec­tric­ity and wa­ter tar­iff on industrial tar­iff, land banks for bud­get ho­tels, in­ter­est sub­ven­tion schemes and cap­i­tal sub­si­dies, etc. There should be ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion of taxes and early im­ple­men­ta­tion of GST. Also, the 5:25 scheme of RBI should not be limited only to new bor­row­ers but also be avail­able for re­fi­nanc­ing the debt of ex­ist­ing and un­der im­ple­men­ta­tion projects in all el­i­gi­ble sec­tors.

Luv Mal­ho­tra

Pres­i­dent, HRANI

Su­nil Ku­mar Act­ing Pres­i­dent, TAAI and In­dia Travel Award Win­ner

Sub­hash Goyal Pres­i­dent IATO and In­dia Travel Award Win­ner

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