The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has sought ‘One India One Tourism’ approach, which is inclusive of ‘One Tax Structure,’ in the forthcoming Union Budget to revive the pandemic-hit domestic travel, tourism and hospitality industry.
Besides, the Association has sought bringing Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) under the ambit of GST to make air travel “more viable” for all stakeholders as well as extension of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS). There are several aspects which can be expected in the upcoming Budget to support the entire sector of ‘travel tourism and hospitality,’ which will help in making this sector revive and survive, TAAI, which is headed by Jyoti Mayal, said in a statement on Saturday.
“For this, it is extremely important for both the central and state governments to work in tandem to facilitate this sector and support it to be included in the concurrent list to get Industry status to make it more structured,” the Association said. TAAI said the government should strive to increase the disposable income of the middle classes to spur that discretionary spending.
According to the travel agents body, concrete steps should be taken to improve cash flows and reduce the working capital burden on startups, existing MSMEs and SMEs along with access to easy credit, reducing income tax rate and GST rate, abolishment of tax collected at source (TCS) and wage support with ease of business. Besides, strengthening MSMEs, creating a fund of funds scheme for technology adoption for use in industry 4.0, reviving the Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (CLCSS) for technology upgradation are the other steps TAAI is expecting in the forthcoming Union Budget, it said.
To revive this struggling sector, “we need ‘One India One Tourism’ approach inclusive of ‘One Tax Structure,” TAAI said in the statement, adding that, important points to be considered are e-visa fees waiver for all tourist visas for 2022-2023, to support inbound revival export status for tourism export earnings.
It has also sought double expenditure allocation for the tourism ministry to enable intensive global reach-out to support the inbound revival as well as domestic income tax travel credit for Indian citizens and Indian companies to support domestic retail and domestic MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions)pick-up.
The Association is also looking at a global bidding fund in the Union Budget 2022-23 to enable bidding support to Indian MICE companies to bring global MICE events to India, as per TAAI.
Lastly and most vital is a structured mechanism to secure travel agents’ payments to ensure security for travel agents and operators’ survival, it said.
TAAI added that travel agents’ payments to principals are unsecured credit and there is need to ensure that some form of mechanisms, whether escrow or guarantee or underwriting based mechanisms, are in place for securing travel agents money.