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Tuesday, 28 August, 2018, 11 : 04 AM [IST]

Prepare & Practice

The tourism industry in the country can collectively heave a sigh of relief. Now, GST will be calculated only on the Actual Tariff, instead of the Published/Declared Tariff. Every association that counts in the industry can claim their share of victory with the decision. The issue has been a bone of contention between the industry and several states for long. When the country switched to the GST system, that anomaly got into the new regime as well. Asking a consumer, a guest in the case of a hotel, to pay tax for an amount which they are not actually paying, amounts to misappropriation or cheating even if it is by the government. Although this one relief won’t make a big difference as far as tax competitiveness is concerned, the industry associations can at least recoup now and start lobbying for tax rationalisation.

The travel & tourism industry has another reason to rejoice since their long-standing demand for a Travel Mart in India has found favour with the government. Although several ministers, secretaries in the past have made initial spadework, and even announced dates for a Travel Mart to showcase India as one destination under one roof, their efforts fell short of fruition at various times in the last 10 years for unknown reasons. Industry veterans who are in the know attribute it to private agendas, vested interests, etc.

But, can such a mega Travel Mart be planned and executed with precision in such a short time? Nobody is sure. Although the organisers are putting on a brave face, there is still an element of uncertainty around it. Even those who support the initiative concede that more time would have helped in putting it up in a better way. But, who cares? More than Return on Investment, it is publicity and mileage that counts in events involving public money!

It is also important that such exercises should not be one-off exercise. While the ambition is to build a WTM or ITB out of India Tourism Mart (ITM), the organisers should remember that such global platforms were not built in a year. Dedicated teams, comprehensive planning, and time-bound and effective execution form the basis of such events. Therefore, ITM requires continuity and proper scheduling as a calendar event on the global trade exhibition map to get noticed. The organisers can also take a cue from state-specific events such as KTM, GITB, etc., to start with.

P Krishna Kumar
Bureau Chief, New Delhi
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