State Tourism Industry Takes Rs 200 Crore Hit, Seeks Financial Aid From Govt
GUWAHATI: G Plus had earlier reported that the ongoing lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic has significantly affected the tourism industry. As such the leading tour operators of the state have sought government support to remain afloat in these times of crisis.
In a press note signed by the Tour Operators’ Association of Assam, Association of Domestic Tour, Indian Association of Tour Operators and North East India Tour Operators, it has been informed that the industry has seen a rapid downfall since December last with the CAA protests followed by ILP issues in Meghalaya and now the lockdown.
Most tourism businesses are start-ups, first generation entrepreneurs with small financial base and do not have cash reserves or emergency corpus.
Considering the current closure of the sector altogether, 20 to 25 percent job loss is also anticipated.
Thus, financial support has been sought from the government to secure relief to numerous people employed in the sector.
The measures sought include collateral-free tourism loans with low interest rate, deference of EMIs of tour operators by nine months, reduction of GST by 50 percent for one financial year, waiver of penalties and also waiver of fees for trade licenses of tour operators for the next financial year.
Arijit Purkayastha, Chapter Chairman of Association of Domestic Tour, speaking to G Plus informed, "We have incurred losses of around Rs 200 crores due to the pandemic. Also, chances of early revival are very low. The industry has around 3 lakh direct employees and 5 lakh are indirectly associated with the tourism sector."
"We should be given soft loans to pay the salaries of our staff. We are not asking for grants but loans at minimum interest rates which we will return at the earliest," he added.
As per reports, ATDC has also sustained major losses due to cancellations in the current tourist season from October 2019 to April 2020.
Reportedly, the Kerala government had announced a financial package of Rs 20,000 crores to deal with the impact of coronavirus, a substantial amount of which has been dedicated to its tourism industry.