Budget 2022: Travel and tourism ignored once again, says TAAI

Not Amritkal, but Mahapralaya say leading travel body on Budget2022

Tourism

February 1, 2022

/ By / New Delhi

Budget 2022: Travel and tourism ignored once again, says TAAI

TAAI says that the government has totally ignored their petitions and pleas for some very basic assistance in the budget (MIG Photos)

Travel agents across India express unhappiness with the union budget 2022, saying it not ignored their pleas for help but spells doom for the sector.

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Travel Agents Association of India, (TAAI), India’s premier and largest travel and tourism association, expressed deep dissatisfaction with the Union Budget 2022 presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Parliament on Tuesday. “Our trade has suffered tremendously due to the pandemic and it was expected that the government would at least work towards positive upliftment of the travel and tourism in India, which they always portray as a priority,” says TAAI in a statement.

TAAI says that the government has totally ignored their petitions and pleas for some very basic assistance in the budget in order to help revive a sector that has been bludgeoned by the Covid-19 pandemic and the numerous restrictions that it has imposed on domestic as well as international travel.

‘‘Our trade has suffered tremendously due to the pandemic and it was expected that the government would at least work towards positive upliftment of the travel and tourism in India, which they always portray as a priority ? In our representations to the Finance Minister over last two months, we had requested for GST input credits be made available across states for hotels and travel-tour operators,’’ says Jyoti Mayal, President TAAI.

Jyoti Mayal, President of Travel Agents Association of India condemns government’s budget allocation for travels and tourism sector (MIG Photos)

Mayal also criticised the government for not removing the tax collected at source, which had imposed an additional levy of 5 pc on all international remittances that the travel agents are meant to collect before remitting money overseas.

‘‘TCS which has been a hinderance to growth of outbound tourism making Indian tour operators less competitive in the international market due to the 5 pc being levied on all package tour options over and above the GST,’’ said Jyoti Mayal. ‘‘We were also expecting that at least the travel and tourism sector would be brought under the concurrent list for industry status,’’ she added in the statement.

“It is frustrating that the government’s focus is on 2047 rather than looking at current challenges faced by the travel and tourism trade in India,’’ says Jay Bhatia, Vice President – TAAI.

“In her budget speech the Hon’ble Finance Minister set out Amritkal being positive for the growth of the country, we feel that this is not Amritmanthan but Mahapralaya – dissolution of the travel and tourism trade in India,” Bhatia adds.

‘‘Our appeals to the government to liberalise taxes and grant tax holidays on GST for boosting travel and tourism have been ignored,’’ said Bhatia. “Further, it was also expected that earnings from inbound travel would have been supported by export status, which would have enabled trade growth enhancing the economy,’’ Bhatia said in the statement.

“Travel and tourism contributed nearly 10 pc of India’s GDP, being one of the highest in the service sector and not a mention for development and prosperity of the trade,’’ said Bettaiah Lokesh, Hon. secretary general, TAAI. “We had appealed for opening up of the sector and making it more liberalised for ease of doing business, but it seems that the focus of the Hon’ble Minister was only to present a populist budget and not growth oriented,’’ he added.

National treasurer of TAAI, Shreeram Patel says that the government has totally sidelined the trade and the only point mentioned was in Gati Shakti which would relieve foreign travellers. “TCS and GST being the biggest hindrance, not being considered was a shameful and a death knell for our trade. We at TAAI on behalf of the travel and tourism trade, totally condemn and express our displeasure on the Budget 2022 presented by the Hon’ble Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman. The growth of travel and tourism required a catalystic boost, but with none coming our way, the pandemic shall continue to dampen our miseries multi-fold,’’ he said.

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