IATO delegation meet Tourism Minister to discuss 12 major concerns of the industry
Indian Association of Tour Operators, the National apex body of tour operators, as per directives from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, met with Tourism Minister G. Kishan Reddy on Thursday to highlight the industry’s woes and sought immediate intervention to revive inbound tourism.
IATO had earlier written to the Prime Minister raising all its concerns to help the inbound tour operators revive India’s inbound tourism business.
A two-member delegation of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), comprising Rajiv Mehra -President and Ravi Gosain-Vice President, met the Minister. The meeting was attended by Mrs Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General (Tourism), Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India.
“We were given a very patient hearing, and Hon’ble Tourism Minister assured to look into all our concerns including the issues related with the other Ministries but are related to tourism sector like MHA, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Culture,” Rajiv Mehra said in a statement released by IATO.
Post the meeting, IATO is hopeful all its issues will be resolved soon, and inbound tourism to India will revive with the help of the Ministry of Tourism and other concerned Ministries.
IATO has urged the government to facilitate the resolution of a dozen issues for the revival of the industry, which is still reeling under the impact of the pandemic.
The 12 major points raised by IATO are as follows:
· Marketing and Promotions, Participation in major international travel marts/fairs, Road Shows, Fam trips for foreign tour operators, overseas marketing and promotions through electronic and print media.
· An official of the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India should be deputed in 20 missions where Tourism Officers have been appointed and those countries where we had India tourism offices earlier and closed. Senior officers to be appointed in 7 India tourism offices which are operational.
· MDA Scheme should be reinstated and made active.
· Guidelines regarding incentives to tour operators under Champion Services Sector Scheme for enhancing tourist arrivals to India be revised
· For the implementation of the Draft National Tourism Policy in its true spirit, our Ministry should constitute an inter-ministerial committee of all the related Ministries headed by the Secretary (Tourism),
· Substantial funds should be allocated to the Ministry of Tourism.
· Airfares are to be reduced by reducing taxes on ATF by the centre and the State Govts.
· Rationalization of GST on Tourism
· Benefits of the SEIS scheme should be continued for the tour operators for the next five years under the new Foreign Trade Policy. The admissible rate of SEIS may be hiked from 5% to 10%. If the government decides to discontinue, any other alternative scheme should be introduced to give incentives to the tour operators in place of SEIS.
· Tax Refund for Tourists (TRT) Scheme is implemented.
· E-Tourist Visa for international travellers from countries such as the UK, Canada, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain etc. may kindly be restored.
· Validity of 5 lakh free tourist visa to be extended till March 2024