Basic Survival has become a challenge. While our members tried their level best to sustain their staff for a few months, however with the global scenario undergoing the second and third wave, are compelled to reach out to you for guidance, assistance and encouragement so as to take care of the livelihood of the personnel working in the trade.
The worst hit are our junior and mid level teams, who are unable to survive ever for basic needs. They include, frontline counter staff, ticketing staff, tour planners, accountants, the airport representatives, porters, drivers, guides, sales and marketing staff, administrative team etc. The middle and senior members, including the owners are affected too.
Bad debts from clients, interest on bank loans/ overdrafts, EMI’s, increased insurance premiums for staff etc.
Además, con no respite whatsoever in statutory complainces like PF, ESIC, Professional Tax, GST, Income Tax, TDS etc. and with the introduction of the New Irrational Tax like TCS ensures that our establishments are forced to close down.
Although respite through MSME loans was given by the Hon. Finance Minister, to existing loan/overdraft holders, who had obtained them prior to February’20. However, there has been no consideration for our members who were working on their own finances, to obtain new co-lateral free loans/overdraft and rebated interest thereon. Many banks and financial institutions have blacklisted Travel and Tourism organisations being non-revenue generators since April’20. Even the existing limits, if any have been reduced.
We seek your attention in providing immediate support to all engaged in travel and tourism:
a. Moratorium for atleast 2 years from all loan EMIs for our staff and members.
b. Grant of Rs 10,000/- per month per employee for the next one year until normalcy resumes. This shall be paid back, free of interest to the Government in installments over 24 months thereafter or deducted at 15% of their salary and paid back to the exchequer.
c. Fresh co-lateral free loans/overdraft faciltities to our member organisations and personnel be provided at rebated interest for a period of atleast 5 years until things are restored back to normalcy. This shall give support to them to meet their administrative overheads and promote travel and tourism effectively. The same could be computed on last 3 years average.
d. Income Tax Holiday for next 5 years for member Travel Agents and Tour Operators.
e. Rebates on Digital payments: The Credit Card companies / Banks are charging between 2% to 3.5% for payments received through credit card or wallets. This is hindering the purpose, revenue and ease of doing business. In todays Digital India, which was initiated by your goodself, has lost its steam for people making payments to us by debit/credit cards. Further the airlines too are not accepting digital payments from us vide creditcards or wallets, due to the same reason of higher percentage of deductions by the banks. This should be brough down to 0.5%.
f. In the current scenario where many small establishments, like our members, are trying to work from home. With zero income, they have cutdown on their lease rentals. Work from Home should be considered as an establishment for registered travel agents/ tour operators, as many authroities are not permitting official addresses at residences. This should be directed through your good offices so as to safe guard health and safety.
g. May we also urge you to direct the States to consider waiver and reduction of electricity charges / water taxes / property taxes / stamp duty / commercial licence fees / other local taxes for another 3 years. This shall help and support the trade to survive.
h. Syncronisation of all employee benefits like ESIC, Professional Tax, PF, Gratutity etc. under one head so as to ease compliances and do business effectively, smoothly and motivate us to generate more revenue for the country.
Hon. Pradhan Mantri ji,
We do not seek grants as alms, but seek support in terms of repayable loans. This shall be repaid back to the Government post the 5 year period after the crisis ends. This shall only be an interim working capital for survival and revival along with ease of doing business.
2. Industry Status for Travel & Tourism along with Cabinet berth for Tourism and Culture Ministry:
We have been working closely with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture for years. Hon. Minister Shri Prahlad Singh ji Patel is one of the most dynamic Ministers along with his team of Secretary, Shri Arvind Singh ji and Director General-Tourism Smt. Rupinder Brar ji. They have been a source of inspiration and proactive in listening to us over the last year. The Ministry has taken our feedback and suggestions on the revising of MDA guidelines, the new SoPs for opening up tourism very positively and implemented the same.