Tourism is still struggling

The travel fraternity believes that the sector needs more nurturing from the government to reach its potential, as it hails the recent policy amendments in terms of GST and e-Visa fee.

Nisha Verma

Naveen Kundu, Managing Director, EbixCash Travel & Holidays
Tourism is not a pampered sector just because GST adjustment has been done and e-TV is being given, which was a long-standing demand for the country and was very important. Tourism has not been declared as an industry, tourism SMEs in the country do not get any funding in India, there is no regulation or entry-level barrier in tourism that can guarantee services and safety provided to the tourist.

HS Duggal, Managing Director, Minar Group
Had we been a pampered sector, we would have grown by leaps and bounds and we’d not have been struggling at 10 million tourists. Of course, government support is also there. We are thankful to the government to reduce the GST and visa fee. However, there is a lot more to be done and a lot can be achieved with full support of the government. The aim for all of us is to achieve big inbound numbers and make India a viable destination.

Pradip Lulla, Acting President, TAFI
I personally feel that tourism in India needs a lot of pampering. In fact, 9.5 per cent of our GDP comes from tourism and hospitality, which is one tenth of the total. Things like rural and agri-tourism could be given a boost if some sort of incentives could be given. Of course, the government has been kind enough to reduce the GST on hotels, but I don’t think it is a pampered sector. Even if you see the overall package for a M!CE conference, there are a lot of taxes like VAT.

Rajiv Mehra, Vice President, IATO
It is the vision of our Prime Minister that employment increases. This would only happen if the tourism sector is pampered. There has been a revision in visa fee, which is a big achievement. What is left, however, is that as an individual tour operator, we all go out and do promotions. In our meetings with the Director General of Tourism, we highlighted this issue, and that the MDA scheme be revised without any clause, so that smaller agents could go abroad and do promotions.

Deepak Bhatnagar, Managing Director, Aamantran Travels
Tourism cannot be labelled as a pampered sector. We would love to be pampered and I hope the government is able to spoil us more with more benefits. If they would do that, it would be beneficial to the country, because tourism is the biggest employment generator for India when unemployment is a huge problem we are facing. If we can boost numbers as tourism industry, we will generate jobs and increase employment.

Ravi Gosain, Managing Director, Erco Travels
Our Prime Minister has been talking of tourism for a long time and in his last speech, he said that tourism is a growth and employment generator for the country. Currently, tourism industry is very stagnant and we are facing a lot of problems, and I think that as a facilitator, the government should give some benefits. Just like we have SEIS benefits from Ministry of Commerce, it should be followed in the next financial policy as well.

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