Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) participated in a meeting called by Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal to get input from the exporters on required measures to be taken on PM’s call to increase exports to USD 400 billion this year and taking India to 5 trillion USD economy in the future, a number of suggestions were given.
Representing the tourism industry, Rajiv Mehra, President, IATO suggested the measures like Opening e-Tourist Visas, resuming normal international flight operations etc. Besides, Mehra informed the Minister about the precarious financial condition that the tour operators had undergone during the pandemic and how the release of long-overdue SEIS (Service Exports from India Scheme) for the financial year 2019-20 is vital for their survival. He also requested that SEIS should continue for the next 5 years and should be included in RoDTEP scheme in foreign trade policy being framed for 2021-26.
Mehra also informed the Minister that the tourism industry is a major foreign exchange earner and should be accorded the status of deemed exporter at par with service export earners. Such a move could enhance their competitiveness vis a vis other neighbouring country and thus can boost foreign tourist arrivals. Further, the Minister was requested for implementation of IGST act as per which the tourist leaving India is entitled to refund of IGST paid in India on goods being taken out of India under tax refund for tourists (TRT) scheme.
As per Mehra, “As per larger level, India has huge tourism potential but to reach that we need government support in terms of financial incentives as well as improved physical infrastructure. With the governments focusing on improving India’s attractiveness, I am sure we shall see boom as we have never seen before.”