Tourism relief call Delhi, 24th February, 2013: The tourism sector hopes that it will be awarded the “industry” status in Budget 2013-14 as it is a vital foreign exchange earner. The sector also expects that the entire hospitality industry will earn the infrastructure status, and finance minister P.Chidambaram will reduce service and luxury taxes.
“The tourism sector should be treated on a par with exporters based on its foreign exchange earnings. No benefits are being given to our sector, while exporters get a number of benefits. The fact is that retention of foreign exchange is much higher than any other export-oriented industry”, said Subhash Goyal, president of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO).
He said tourism should be given physical exports industry status. Several tour operators are doing business from offices in Nepal and Bhutan because of such distinction between industries, Goyal said.
According to the IATO, 90-95 per cent of the forex earned by tour operators remain in India, while 60-90 per cent of the forex earned by the exporters of gems, jewellery and carpets are spent on imports of gold, precious stones, wool and other raw material.
A survey by the World Travel and Tourism Council showed that the sector generated more jobs than chemical manufacturing, communications and mining sector combined together.
Travel and tourism’s total contributions, including direct , indirect and included impacts to G D P in India , was around 6.4 per cent of total GDP in 2011-12 compared with 3.3 per cent for automotive manufacturing.
Tour operators have also demanded an exemption from paying service tax. “Just like exporters, based on foreign exchange earnings, tour operators should also get exemption of service tax on package tours as the payment is received in foreign exchange. With service tax added at present, Indian packages which are given by our competitive countries such as China , Thailand , Malaysia , Sri Lanka , Singapore and Hong Kong ,” said Sarab Jit Singh, vice president of the IATO.
The Industry status will help the sector to get more tax and duty exemptions and easy finance from banks …………. The Telegraph dated 25th February, 2013
Posted on: 25 Feb, 2013