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No respite to trade trade in Interim Budget: TAAI

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), the oldest trade body of the industry in India, has said that the Interim Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has shown no respite to the Travel Agents/Tour Operators.

TAAI said that various representations were made to the Finance Ministry on concerns of ease of doing business, specifically on GST, TCS and other challenges faced by the sector in India.

TAAI being the nodal and premier body feels that although being an interim Budget pending challenges and concerns from over two years could have been addressed by the FM, especially on the TCS levy on Overseas Tour Programme Package, which is impacting business of travel agents operating in India making them non-competitive and impacting the liquidity of the consumer/traveller.

TAAI recognised that announcements have been made on development and infrastructure to the tourism industry specifically, in the North East, island destinations like Lakshadweep, thereby promoting investment in the sector.

“We are happy that the FM spoke about Viksit Bharat and has encouraged other industries, but totally ignored the travel agent and tour operators who are the catalyst in developments, enhancement and promotion of tourism, be it domestic, inbound, inland as well as outbound tourism.

Further with the increase in UDAN and aviation sector in India at large, there has been no observations noted or any directions formulated on airlines going bankrupt. TAAI has already submitted a document to the authorities on the protection of interest of the Consumers / Travellers/Travel Agents against the bankruptcy of Airlines operating in India, whereby hundreds of crores are lost by the travelling community.”

The association said that overall at the macro-level tourism infrastructure and development has got a boost which is a long-term benefit, but nothing in the coming year shall benefit the trade at large.

“We appreciate her views on enhancing and promoting spiritual tourism, which shall certainly lead to more employment and entrepreneurship in the sector. Additionally the government’s encouragement on development of new airports, rail corridors, roads and ports which shall enable last mile connectivity is also seen as long-term growth oriented. We also acknowledge that the Government has placed MiCE, especially Business and Conference Tourism as a prime focus area, but the same is not possible without appropriate infrastructure, which shall take a few years to develop. Overall we feel that once again the Travel Trade has been ignored,” TAAI said.



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