Tourism not given its due, industry requests ignored: IATO

Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, shared that there was again no focus on tourism in Union Budget 2019-20, except that the government re-emphasised on 17 iconic sites being developed into world-class tourist destinations, which has been taken forward from the last Budget. “However, we welcome the mentioning of simplifying of GST process and absorbing of charges on digital transactions, which will encourage digital transactions. We also welcome the government’s plan to restructure the national highways programme to create a network of highways for better connectivity, upgradation of 125,000 km of roads in next 5 years at a cost of 802.5 billion rupee, more focus on Swachh Bharat mission and expansion of Railway suburban networks which will boost tourism as with increased infrastructure, better road connectivity and clean India, foreign tourists will be attracted.” He added, “We have been requesting the Government  for rationalizing of GST on tourism and hospitality, exemption of GST on foreign exchange earnings by the tour operators and treating tourism industry as deemed exporters and extending all benefits to the tourism industry as are being given to physical exports of goods and reduction, in Tourists Visa Fee so that we can compete with our neighbouring countries on foreign tourists arrivals, which will not only help bring in more foreign exchange but also create new jobs. However, this all remains pending and we hope our requests will be considered by the GST Council and Finance Ministry will consider the importance of tourism industry in employment generation and contribution in economic growth of the country.”