IATO pitches for export industry status to the tourism industry

IATO pitches for export industry status to the tourism industry

India’s apex tour operators’ body seeks earliest implementation of E-visa to spur growth.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly expressed and stressed his intent of reviving brand ‘India’ riding on the strengths of 5Ts (tradition, talent, tourism, trade and technology). And it’s the first time ever that travel veterans have witnessed ‘tourism’ being raised to such high pedestal. The hopes are running high and the travel trade is looking at the forthcoming budget in anticipation in order to see the first sign of government’s commitment towards the travel and tourism sector. IATO recently made its case for a few important steps that needs to be considered by the Government in the welcome reception that it organised for the Union Tourism and Culture Minister Shripad Yesso Naik. Naik, in his first public appearance, did show that he means business. Based on Modi’s 5Ts, IATO’s President Subhash Goyal in his welcome address called the minister as one of the ‘Punj Pyares’ of Narendra Modi, clearly exuding IATO’s enthusiasm in the hope of tourism being put in the spotlight and an important part of the new government’s economic plan for the country. Goyal who has authored ‘Poverty Eradication and Economic Development Through Tourism’ argues that with the mechanisation of agriculture there is no job left in that sector whereas tourism continues to be a highly labour intensive sector. Furthermore Goyal pointed out that India gets just about 6.8 million tourists as against 16 to 17 million Indians travelling overseas annually. He said that India’s tourist arrival is dismal as against neighbouring countries like Malaysia (about 27 million), Thailand (Over 21 million) and China (Over 50 million).

Goyal suggested that to have an immediate effect on tourist arrivals in the country government needs to take some steps on an urgent basis. Earliest implementation of E-visa, export industry status for the tour operators and the removal of the discriminating Service Tax based on tour operators’ foreign exchange earnings. Reminding the Minister that the previous NDA government had exempted tour operators from Service Tax on foreign exchange earnings from 1999-2003, Pronab Sarkar, IATO Hony. Secretary requested the Minster to push for the exemption. Also present on the occasion, Sarab Jit Singh, Sr. Vice President, IATO assured the Minister of IATO support by stating that IATO will be the extended arm of the Government in trying to achieve whatever goal the ministry sets. He also drew attention to some of the recent news about the new Government’s plan of cleaning Ganga, starting bullet trains, some major changes in the Motor Vehicle Act, commenting that “all these factors will have major impact on tourism.” Singh especially sought the Minister’s support in positively convincing Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Commerce on tourism budget and foreign trade policy respectively.

Varanasi, Goa or Delhi likely to be the destination of IATO Convention In its meeting with the Union Tourism Minister,

IATO seeks PM Narendra Modi as Chief Guest for the convention

IATO has proposedto conduct its forthcoming convention either in Varanasi, Goa or Delhi, because of the proximity that these destinations enjoy either with the Prime Minister or the Union Tourism Minister who hails from Goa. Whereas Varanasi is the PM’s constituency. However IATO has requested the tourism minister to get the Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the Chief Guest if any of these three venues were to be announced as the convention destination.

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