Our trade has been ignored once again, stated Jyoti Mayal, President – Travel Agents Association of India. In the statement released post budget on 1st February, 2022, by TAAI, India’s premier and largest travel and tourism Association, it is stated that : our trade has suffered tremendously due to the pandemic and it was expected that the Government would atleast work towards positive upliftment of the travel and tourism in India, which they always portray as a priority?
In our representations to the Finiance Minister over last two months, we had requested for GST input credits be made available across states for hotels and travel-tour operators.
TCS which has been a hinderance to growth of outbound tourism making Indian tour operators less competitive in the international market due to the 5% being levied on all package tour options over and above the GST, stated Jyoti Mayal. We were also expecting to the least that travel and tourism be brought under the concurrent list for industry status, she added.
Jay Bhatia, Vice President – TAAI stated that it is frustrating that the Government’s focus is on 2047 rather than looking at current challenges faced by the travel and tourism trade in India.
In the budget speech the Hon’able Finance Minister set out “Amritkal” being positive for the growth of the country, we feel that this is not Amritmanthan but “Mahapralaya” – dissolution of the travel and tourism trade in India. Our appeals to the government to liberalise taxes and grant tax holidays on GST for boosting travel and tourism has being ignored. Further, he stated that, it was also expected that earnings from inbound travel would have been supported by Export Status, which would have enabled trade growth enhancing the economy.
Travel and Tourism contributed nearly 10% of India’s GDP, being one of the highest in the service sector and not a mention for development and prosperity of the trade, stated Bettaiah Lokesh, Hon. Secretary General, TAAI. We had appealed for opening up of the sector and making it more liberalised for ease of doing business, but it seems that the focus of the Hon’able Minister was only to present a populist budget and not growth oriented.
Hon. National Treasurer – TAAI, Shreeram Patel stated that the Government has totally sidelined the trade and the only point mentioned was in Gati Shakti which would relieve foreign travellers. TCS and GST being the biggest hindrance, not being considered was a shameful and a death knell for our trade.
We at TAAI on behalf of the travel and tourism trade, totally condemn and express our displeasure on the Budget 2022 presented by the Hon’able Finiance Minister, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman. The growth of travel and tourism required a catalystic boost, but with none coming our way, the pandemic shall continue to dampen our miseries multifold.