In an interactive session with Mr Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State for Tourism and Culture (IC), Government of India, the tourism industry leaders of the FICCI Tourism Committee yesterday requested the government for urgent support for survival and revival of Indian Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
FICCI Tourism Committee members submitted key recommendations for the survival of the industry which includes extending the moratorium for another 1 year; period of restructuring for hotels should be extended till March 2024; payment of the Service Exports from India Scheme (SEIS) scrips which is due to the tour operators for the financial year 2018-2019; export status for foreign exchange earnings for inbound tours and hotels and grant of extension under the EPCG scheme in export obligation period by a period of additional 3 years beyond 6 years for all licenses expiring during current and next 5 financial years, without attracting any penalty or interest. The Committee members also urged to extend the repayment period for the hotel industry under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Schemes (ECLGS) to 10 years; create a separate Tourism fund under the aegis of Ministry of Tourism and bail out packages to fund and support the salaries in the Tourism and Hospitality Sector in this time of crisis.
In order to revive the tourism industry, the government should provide tax rebate of up to Rs1.5 lakh for spending on domestic holidays in the lines of the Leave Travel Allowance (LTA). To create confidence among the travellers, international flights should be allowed to resume normal operations with all safety protocols in place. India should enter into a travel arrangement with Russia i.e. a travel bubble specifically between Russia and Goa. Ayurveda and wellness which is a major USP of India should be included under the medical visa to boost this segment.
FICCI Tourism Committee members also urged the government to create a promotional campaign for PIOs and NRIs such as ‘Return to your Roots’ to boost demand in 2021. Identified circuits for religious tourism and Buddhist tourism should be similarly promoted with all the safety protocols. Government should look at convenient policies and procedures for MICE operations as it forms a large segment of the hospitality business. Hotels should be given permission to host all kinds of banquets and conference in the hotel, with a ceiling of 50% of venue capacity and maintaining social distancing norm to allow hotels to earn some revenue when other sources of business has dried up. Mr Prahlad Singh Patel, extended his full support on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and assured the industry leaders that the concerns will be taken up with the relevant ministries.
The interactive session was attended by Dr Jyotsna Suri, Past President – FICCI, Chairperson – FICCI Tourism Committee and CMD – The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group; Mr Dipak Deva, Co-Chair, FICCI Tourism Committee and Managing Director, SITA, TCI & Distant Frontiers; Ms Priya Paul, Chairperson, Apeejay Surrendra Park hotels Ltd.; Mr Dhruv Shringi, Co-Chair, FICCI Tourism Committee and Co-Founder & CEO, Yatra Online Pvt. Ltd.; Mr Jitendra K Mohanty, Co-Chair, FICCI Tourism Committee and CMD, Swosti Group; Mr Souvagya Mohapatra, Chairman, FICCI Eastern Region Tourism Committee & Executive Director, MayFair Hotels & Resorts; Mr Ashish Kumar, Co-Chairman, FICCI Travel Technology Committee & Managing Partner, Agnitio Consulting; Mr Sajeev Kurup, Chairman, FICCI Ayurveda Tourism Task Force and Managing Director, Ayurveda Mana Hospitals and Dr Ankur Bhatia, Member, FICCI Tourism Committee and Director, Bird Group.