As per directives from the Hon’ble Prime Minister, a two member delegation of Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) comprising of Mr. Rajiv Mehra -President and Mr. Ravi Gosain-Vice President met the Hon’ble Tourism Minister, Shri G. Kishan Reddy in his office in the presence of Mrs. Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General (Tourism), Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India and raised all their concerns for the revival of inbound tourism to our country.
Mr. Rajiv Mehra said, “We were given a very patient hearing and Hon’ble Tourism Minister assured to look into all our concerns including the issues related with the other Ministries but are related to tourism sector like MHA, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Culture”.
The issues which Mr. Rajiv Mehra and Mr. Gosain raised for revival of inbound tourism to India were:-
- Marketing and Promotions, Participation in major international travel marts/fairs, Road Shows, Fam trips for foreign tour operators, overseas marketing and promotions through electronic and print media.
- An official of Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India should be deputed in 20 missions where Tourism Officers have been appointed and those countries where we had India tourism offices earlier and have been closed. Senior officers are to be appointed in 7 India tourism offices which are operational.
- MDA Scheme should be re-instated and made operational.
- Guidelines regarding incentives to tour operators under Champion Services Sector Scheme for enhancing tourist arrivals to India be revised
- For implementation of Draft National Tourism Policy in its true spirit, our Ministry should constitute an inter-ministerial committee of all the related Ministries headed by Secretary (Tourism),
- Substantial Funds should be allocated to Ministry of Tourism.
- Airfares to be reduced by reducing taxes on ATF by the centre and the State Govts.
- Rationalization of GST on Tourism
- Benefit of SEIS scheme should be continued for the tour operators for next 5 years under new Foreign Trade Policy, The admissible rate of SEIS may be hiked from 5% to 10%. if Government decides to discontinue, any other alternative scheme should be introduced for giving incentives to the tour operators in place of SEIS.
- Tax Refund for Tourists (TRT) Scheme be implemented.
- E-Tourist Visa for the international travellers from the countries such as the UK, Canada, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain etc. may kindly be restored.
- Validity of 5 lakh free tourist visa to be extended till March 2024
Besides the above, few other issues were also raised with the Hon’ble Tourism Minister. Earlier IATO had written to the Hon’ble Prime Minister raising all its concern to help the inbound tour operators to revive inbound tourism business to India.
IATO is hopeful all our issues will be resolved soon and inbound tourism to India would revive with the help of Ministry of Tourism and other concerned Ministries. IATO thanked the Hon’ble Prime Minister for his intervention.