Tag Archives: Pronab Sarkar

IATO elects new team for 2018-20

The Indian Association of Tour Operators held its election on April 28, 2018 and announced the new team for the 2018-20 period. The returning officer for the election was Akshay Kumar, Vice Chairman, Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH). Pronab Sarkar has been re-elected as the President unopposed, while Rajiv Mehra was also re-elected as the Vice President unopposed. Ravi Gosain is the new Treasurer and Rajnish Kaistha is the new Joint Secretary, both of whom were elected unopposed too. The voting was conducted for the position of Senior Vice President, Honorary Secretary as well as EC Members in the EC active and allied category. Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO said, “We are glad that the members have chosen us to represent them at IATO. The new team has a few new members and I am sure they will bring new ideas to be implemented to build a better working atmosphere in the association. I congratulate the new team and welcome all of them to work for the members together.”

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Trade unhappy, no relief from double taxation: Pronab Sarkar

Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, expresses his discontent over the Union Budget 2018, saying there was nothing in it for tourism. “The Union Budget 2018 has nothing to offer to the tourism industry. We are not happy as there was no relief from double taxation in GST which was our major concern. Even after focusing on job creation, the government has ignored that tourism could be a major facilitator for job creation. Under GST Goods and services should be under the same purview. Since there is no respite from cascading taxation, India would remain a costlier destination than its neighbouring countries for tourists. The only positive is the focus on infrastructure, wherein they have introduced sea planes, 99 smart cities, 10 new destinations, enhanced experience at 110 Adarsh monuments, airport expansion, etc. Also, Corporate Tax of 25 per cent is extended to companies with turnover up to Rs. 250 crore in financial year 2016-17. Earlier, this was for companies with turnover of Rs. 50 crore. Even road and rail transport have got an increased budget. However, businesswise there is no change,” Sarkar said.

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IATO mulling over starting educational workshop on Northeast

The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) is keen to conduct an educational seminar on the Northeast for its members. The association feels that there is a need for its members to learn about the Northeastern destinations and know about the ground realities of the same, to be able to sell it to their clients. Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, said, “We are willing to organise the educational seminar for our members around India with the help of local members in Northeast, so that they are well aware of the region’s destinations. We are waiting for our members to show interest for the same to take forward the idea soon.”

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IATO plans first outbound convention in Sri Lanka from Oct 2-5, 2017

After successfully concluding its annual convention in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha from September 7-10, the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) has announced its first outbound convention in Sri Lanka. Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, reveals, “We have been given a green signal from the Sri Lanka Tourism Board for our first outbound convention that will be held from October 2-5, 2017 in Colombo. We will be working on that now and will inform our members as soon as we return to New Delhi. This will be the first outbound convention that will be organized by IATO. We will discuss the agenda for that and announce it within a few days.”  

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We’ve got what we wanted: IATO

Claiming that applying of CENVAT credit with 9 per cent service tax was cumbersome, Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, said, “ GST was awaited for a long time and we were demanding from the government that since there is a lot of multiplicity of taxes in the tourism sector, the taxes should be rationalised and reduced. Thus, we were hoping to be put under the lowest GST slab and get some relief. I am glad that the government has agreed to both of them and has given us the same status what we wanted with 5 per cent GST rate. Also, there is no CENVAT credit on that. We are only concerned about one aspect of hotels, as they have put 28 per cent GST on hotels over Rs. 5000 which should not be more than 18 per cent. However, the hotel industry should come out and take up this issue. The government should encourage more tourists to come and not only look for more taxes. Rather, it should look for more tourists and get a bigger chunk of foreign exchange, which will not only generate revenue but also a lot of employment opportunities in the hospitality industry.”

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IATO opposes transport tax in Haryana

Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, has said that the members of IATO are unhappy with the transport tax hike by the Transport Department of Haryana Government in the state. Addressing the monthly luncheon meeting of IATO, he said, “The transport tax in Haryana has been increased by 1700% from April 1, 2017. He said that while the government has increased this tax after four years, but such a steep hike is unacceptable. We will be meeting the Haryana Chief Minister as well as the Union Finance Minister to request them to implement any increase gradually.” Starting April 1, commercial vehicles entering Haryana would have to pay Rs. 3000.

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Key tourism issues omitted

IATO President Pronab Sarkar says budget did not give any encouragement to the tourism industry. “There was no mention of the tourism industry, and no benefits or plus points were announced. Apart from speaking about five tourism circuits and second phase of the Incredible India campaign, nothing else was mentioned.” Detailing their expectations and the disappointment that followed, Sarkar says, “We were expecting e-visa changes to be applicable, which were announced in December. The Prime Minister is talking about branding India and mentioning tourism amongst the five pillars, but no one has looked into the prospects of this Industry. Thus, the government needs to be sensitised. As association, we tried seeking appointment with him and did write to him on Twitter, but haven’t heard from anyone as yet.”

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Regional & State-level guides allowed at centrally protected monuments

All guides with licences issued by ASI and Additional Director General, Tourism, are valid and can enter all the Centrally Protected Monuments including Fatehpur Sikri, till fresh licences are issued under the new Policy, informs Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO quoting Supreme Courts’ order on IATO’s writ petition. IATO had sought clarification on the restricted entry of Regional Level Guides and State Level Guides at Fatehpur Sikri, where only local guides were being allowed to work. This was causing financial burden on IATO members as they had to pay guide fee to their Regional/State Level Guide and the local guide.

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