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Friday, 29 January, 2021, 17 : 40 PM [IST]

TAAI urges Centre to announce pro-tourism policies for Ease of Doing Business in Budget

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has urged the government to undertake its suggestions for good governance and Ease of Doing Business for the travel trade. 

Travel & tourism contributes to nearly 10% of GDP. Indian trade contributes to over INR 2 lakh crore of foreign exchange earnings through tourism. This is expected to accelerate at least by 15% in the next 2 years. TAAI expects that the Finance Ministry (FM) outlays plans to enhance and boost travel and tourism by ensuring adequate support in Ease of Doing Business. 

Jyoti Mayal, President TAAI, said that Budget 2021 should be focused more on spending to enable economic growth. “What better area to spend in than tourism to generate more cash flow and earnings to enable enhancement of infrastructure.”

“We are expecting the FM to ensure LTC benefits not utilised this year due to the pandemic should be permitted to be carried forward in the coming 2 years. Further to boost the economy all expenses made for travel, tourism, MICE, adventure, domestic and religious travel, by the tax payer should be fully exempt from income tax for the next 2 years,” stated Mayal.

One India One GST: TAAI has already appealed for have a uniform GST across India whereby input tax credits can be taken for services utilised across the country. The GST for tour operators should be at 1.8% with full setoff, being 18% on an average margin of 10%. Interstate credit of GST is not available to travel agents and tour operators on IGST, and the same should be considered at par which shall not only benefit the corporates, but the consumers are large. The similar being with airlines on the point of departure.

The FM should also ensure 10% SIES credit to be adjusted completely under income tax. To ensure growth in tourism and all incomes from foreign exchange earnings should be given a tax holiday for a 2 years. TCS too to should be rescinded as it serve no purpose of tax collect and is only adding compliances of our members, she added.

Jay Bhatia, Vice President of TAAI stated that travel & tourism trade should be granted industry status and be included in the concurrent list on a unified basis across the country. “This shall help to produce high quality service levels. All licenses and standardisation of regulations, processes, payment schedules, skills and knowledge development shall get a boost.”

Further adding to the appeal he stated that TAAI has requested that a single employee benefit/protection/security policy benefit be adopted under one proviso which shall take care of labour welfare, social security, industrial safety and health of self and family, child and women labour, etc. on the basis of education / skill / wages / salaries etc. and maintaining one wage code across the country with Central and state governments.

In its recommendation to the Ministry, TAAI has also placed that a Structured Insurance Mechanism is required to secure the future of travel agents against principals, viz a viz securing all payments of the consumer and the traveller. “The proposals on escrow or guarantee or underwriting by government towards all airline operators to and from India must also be secured in some form of financial security,” Bhatia added.

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