The Travel Industry, one of the worst affected sectors during the pandemic, is disappointed as the government has so far not come up with a specific economic relief package for it.

IATO, one of the apex body tour operators, has expressed deep disappointed over its request for rationalising GST and cascading impact it causes on the tourism industry not even being discussed in the GST Council meeting held last week.

Though there is no substitute for resumption of tourism activity which seems far off given the second wave of the pandemic, the apex tourism national body has now pinned its hopes that the government and GST council would sympathise and do its bit and provide succour by lowering the stiff GST which is imposed on the tourism industry.

According to Rajiv Mehra, President IATO, “Tourism, more particularly the inbound one, is the worst affected with zero inbound tourism business in the last 14 months and further we see no hope of inbound tourism to start soon. In a scenario like this we were hopeful that our request would be favourably considered in the GST council meeting, but what was disappointing was that it was not even discussed.”

It is more important to reduce taxes on the tourism industry as Indian tourism stakeholders are going to face very tough competition from our neighboring countries as they will be coming out with lucrative offers to attract international tourists to their countries, IATO said.

Until and unless we reduce taxes on the tourism products, we will not be able to compete with South Asian and other neighbouring countries as tax on tourism in these countries is very low compared to our country, Mehra said.

However, IATO is still hopeful that some relief will be favourably considered in the second stimulus package to be announced by the Ministry of Finance considering the crisis this industry is facing.