Tag Archives: IATO

TAAI starts its pan-India workshops on GST

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has started conducting educational workshops on GST for its members across all chapters along with its consultant and Service Tax expert, Manish Gadia, Partner, GMJ & Co. Jay Bhatia, National Treasurer and Chairman (Tourism Council), TAAI, says, “We did a session on GST in Ahmedabad on Saturday, May 27 and are doing another one in Mumbai on June 1. We have planned this pan-India for our chapters and the dates and cities will be announced soon.” The association will conduct another one in Lucknow on June 8. Gadia, who recently conducted a session on the same topic for Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) members in Mumbai says, “The main doubt of the IATO members was whether they have to go for five per cent or 18 per cent, whether they have both options, what will be the place of supply, and how can they get the maximum benefit from GST. Any change will always have some pros and cons. Introduction of GST is one the biggest economic reforms for India. So the tour operators will have to change the way they are doing business today.”  

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Associations rush to conduct GST workshops for members

Various national travel trade associations in the country are rushing to conduct workshops on GST for their members and inform them on how the tax structure will impact their business. The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) has organised a seminar with noted Service Tax expert, Manish Gadia, Partner, GMJ & Co to talk on Service Tax and GST and to reply to member queries. The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) has also conducted a speaker session on GST. Following close on its heels will be the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI). Revealing this is Jay Bhatia, National Treasurer and Chairman (Tourism Council), TAAI, who said that the association will be doing a series of workshops on Service Tax and GST along with consultant Manish Gadia across the country.

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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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IATO convention in Bhubaneswar from Sept 7-10, 2017

The 33rd Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) Convention will be held from September 7-10, 2017 in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Revealing this was N.S. Rathor, Chairman, Western Region IATO and Regional Chapter Chairman, who said, “The Minister Tourism and Culture, Government of Odisha, Ashok Chandra Panda, had attended our previous convention in Chennai and he was very keen for us to have our next convention in Orissa. As soon as he returned to Orissa, he spoke to his CM and they suggested the dates. It will be held either at Hotel Swosti or Mayfair Lagoon. Our team will visit the city soon for a recce. We had done our convention in Orissa in 2008 as well and since then the state has seen tourism grow. So the government is very keen to have the convention again.” He added that the main selling point in Orissa has been its tribal tours which is very niche and will appeal only to a few tourists who are interested. “Moreover, the accommodation available is basic, requires a lot of travelling and accessibility isn’t that great. For us though, it was an eye-opener. The people in Orissa are very nice, very warm. We travelled extensively in the area during our past convention and realised the destination has a lot of potential,” Rathor said.

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IATO educates members on new service tax regime

The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) held an interactive meeting at the Ashok Hotel, New Delhi, for its members on the new legislation for service tax, where they had invited S.C. Kamra, Advocate and expert on service tax. Kamra made a presentation on the service tax on how the new notification will impact the tour operators. The session saw a full house with around 300 members in attendance. The presentation was followed by question and answers, where IATO members put forward their queries and problems regarding the new Service Tax norms.

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MOT allows bulk purchase of monument tickets in Agra

Tourism Minister (I/C) Dr. Mahesh Sharma has given directives to allow purchase of monument tickets in Agra in bulk with payments through Demand Draft with immediate effect. The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) had urged the Ministry of Tourism and ASI to suggest alternatives regarding purchase of ASI Monument tickets after December 15, 2016. As for all the other monuments, tickets are available for purchase online, except for some monuments in Agra, especially Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort and Itimad-ul-Daula’s Tomb. Also, there will not be any passport details required for bulk purchase, revealed Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO. He added that installation of Debit/Credit Card swipe machines at the monuments are also being explored.

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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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Demonetized currency notes valid till Nov 24 at ASI monuments & utilities

In an emergency meeting last night, the government has extended payments in demonetized 500 and 1,000 currency notes at all utilities and ASI monuments till November 24, as confirmed by Pronab Sarkar President, IATO. Earlier, based on the advice of Ministry of Finance, the Director General of ASI had issued orders for accepting demonetized 500 and 1000 currency notes till the midnight of November 11, 2016, for entry tickets to centrally protected monuments.

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Tourists unable to pay monument fee, road tax

Lally Matthews, Hon. Secretary, IATO, says even though its a bold move by the PM, there are some immediate problems. “We are seeing that the clients who are travelling in India are facing a problem in paying the monument fee at the counters. There have been instances at the Taj Mahal as big notes are not being accepted at the counters and tourists are coming back without visiting it. The drivers are unable to pay road taxes and inter-state taxes owing to the same problem. Tourists who have already exchanged money can’t use the money they have in hand and can’t even take the new currency from banks. There are problems for tourist vehicles to pay at petrol pumps. Apart from that, foreign tourists staying in hotels are unable to pay by cash for any services, and the same problem they are facing at restaurants as well. There are also reports that some hotels are even charging 10 per cent extra if a tourist is paying by card,” he concluded.

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