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Monday, 18 May, 2020, 16 : 20 PM [IST]

Expressing dejection, TAAI seeks urgent representation with government over bailout neglect

Effort is to avoid collapse of the industry that is dominated by small and medium sized players
The Travel Agents Association India (TAAI) has expressed its dejection at the complete neglect meted out to the travel & tourism industry in the bailout package of INR 20 lakh crore by the government. The leadership of the association has sent a formal letter expressing their disappointment, and are seeking urgent meetings with the government to avoid complete collapse of the industry that is dominated by small- and medium-sized players. 

Expressing shock at such a treatment meted out to the industry despite their continuous dialogue and requests, Jyoti Mayal, President, TAAI & Vice Chairperson of FAITH says that the actual pandemic in the true sense has impacted the travel & tourism industry. “We are at a loss and feel sad that a country where the industry has been investing by paying taxes, collecting GST and contributing to 10% of the country’s employment along with being one of the highest foreign exchange generators has not even been granted a mention in the huge confusing bailout package of INR 20 lakh crore. We were looking for a small bailout to survive and be able to revive with some statutory relief and rebates in the broader sense.”

Mayal said that with extensions of lockdown their businesses are impacted to the maximum, and now the industry will witness large-scale bankruptcies and an increase in unemployment. “The government needed to bail the industry to prevent mass unemployment. The infrastructure the government is investing in will be of no use if the industry does not survive. We have not even got our wish of ease of doing business, implemented,” Mayal says. She cited the problem of cash flow as advances and refunds are a stuck with the airlines. 

In her fifth and last tranche of relief and reform package, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman concluded her speech with no mention of relief for the tourism and hospitality industry, despite the industry being a critical contributor to the country's GDP and foreign exchange earnings. Sharing his views on this, Jay Bhatia, Vice President, TAAI, said, "We have sent a letter as a formal communication, and are also seeking an appointment on war footing with the respective ministries. As the situation gets grim, members will have no options but to take harsh steps that shall be detrimental."

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