GST remains a top concern for IATO members, informs Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, and hopes to get all such issues resolved by this year.
Speaking at the IATO Luncheon organised for members, Pronab Sarkar said that they have not only met the Ministry of Tourism but also Ministry of Finance regarding issues related to GST. “We have briefed that there are two points still pending under GST. First, with agent to agent, there has to be a waiver to avoid double taxation. Secondly, the government has proposed to give us ITC in place of CENVAT credit, and IATO is looking for ITC to be given with other states as well. Only then the benefit that comes to tour operators will be justified. For small tour operators registering in each state and having their offices there as well to apply for ITC, will be a cumbersome job,” he detailed.
Rajiv Mehra, Vice President, IATO, added that their agenda this time was to discuss problems that IATO members were facing like GST, security, roadshows and closure of MOT’s overseas offices. “We will be taking up some of these issues with the government and hopefully, something will be happening on that shortly,” he assured.
Sarkar further applauded the Directorate General of Foreign Trade’s Service Exports from India Scheme (SEIS), under which tour operators could get the benefit for earning foreign exchange like many other service sectors. The rate of reward under SEIS for tour operators increased from 5 per cent to 7 per cent, while for hotels it has changed from 3 per cent to 5 per cent. Sarkar said, “With this scheme, the government has acknowledged that tourism is a prime body, which earns a valuable foreign exchange. To encourage them, they have given this benefit, which was earlier 5 per cent, used to be given in form of scrips. These scrips can be sold in the market to importers, allowing tour operators to make some money. We are happy that it has now increased to 7 per cent and operators can apply for it by March 31, 2018.