Indian Association of Tour Operators(IATO) has sought immediate relief from the government to tide over these tough times of the COVID-19 when the tourism industry which once contributed about nine per cent to the GDP, is facing an existential crisis.
Though no sector in the economy has been spared by this worldwide crisis, the impact of the pandemic has been harshest on the tourism sector.
In light of the given situation, IATO has sought multiple sops from the government.
It seeks raising of Service Export India Scheme (SEIS) from 7 per cent to 10 per cent.
”Normally it is announced in June-July every year but this year it is delayed and we request the Government to declare the same without any further delay. Such a measure would go a long way in alleviating the liquidity problem as the sector currently has zero billing and this would
help tour operators to survive,” the IATO said on Monday through a statement.
Further IATO seeks amendment in rules regarding granting of loans to MSME as presently only those who have established relationship with the banks are being offered loans.
The new borrowers are being denied loans because of the policy framework especially the tour operators who have been kept in high risk category and denied loans. This should be looked into by the government and policy should be revised. Also the loans offered should have an extended moratorium of one year.
According to IATO President Pronab Sarkar, ”The tourism industry is in dire straits and needs urgent relief from the government. We understand the government finances are stretched and therefore the measures we have sought does not involve huge outgo from the government but if these relief can be given now, these can go a long way in providing succour to the stressed sector failing many tour operators would shut down.”
IATO is an apex body representing more than 1700 tour operators across the country. All segments of the industry from small to large companies are its members which are recognised by the Ministry of Tourism for earning valuable foreign exchange for the country.