The Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) has written to the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, ahead of Budget 2022, requesting certain relief measures and concessions for the outbound tour operators. The association in its letter has demanded the government to roll back TCS on outbound tour packages, not make Pan Card mandatory for foreign remittances and relief from GST for a minimum period of two years.
Further, OTOAI has requested the Finance Ministry to grant loans to travel agents and tour operators at lower interest rates for a period of at least one year. It also asked to include outbound tours under the government’s LTC Scheme so that business avenues can grow for outbound tour operators. Lastly, the association has sought the much-awaited industry status for the travel and tourism sector.
Sharing details and commenting on the development, Riaz Munshi, President, OTOAI said, “We understand the plight of the outbound sector, which has suffered immensely in the last 22 months. The decision of yet again postponing the movement of commercial international flights from India till February 28 has not only dampened our spirits but also closed the business doors for us. Thus, it becomes vital that the government offers some relief to the outbound tour operators by taking into consideration the above-mentioned requests made by us. At OTOAI, we are constantly striving to work towards the benefit, upliftment and care of the outbound tour operators in India and we hope the government listens to our requests.”
The association in its statement mentioned that it has written to the Finance Minister making her aware of the fact that the tourism sector in India provides employment to 8-10 per cent of the total population and is one of the leading sectors for economic growth. “In FY20, tourism sector in India accounted for 39 million jobs, which was 8 per cent of the total employment in the country. By 2029, it is expected to account for about 53 million jobs. As per figures compiled by Statista, a research agency, the total direct and indirect employment generated by travel and tourism sector in India was 12.38 per cent. Further according to India Brand Equity Foundation, Indian tourism industry is set to rise at 6.2 per cent a year by 2029 reaching the economic size of INR 35 trillion (US Dollar 688 billion). The sector will provide employment equivalent to 9.2 per cent of the total. These facts and figures clearly reinstate the importance of the tourism sector,” said OTOAI in its communication.