IATO representatives meet the Hon’ble Finance Minister

Mr. Rajiv Mehra President and Mr. Pronab Sarkar, Immediate Past President of Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO),  the National Apex Body of Tour Operators, called on the Hon’ble Finance Minister Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman in her office today to thank her a) clearing SEIS for the service providers; b) 5 lakh free e-Tourist Visas for foreign tourists; c) granting loan and to seek more support from the Government for revival of tourism and to resolve pending issues, which will  help the Indian tour operators to compete with our neighbouring countries to attract more tourists to India.

The issues that were raised with the Hon’ble Minister were to retain SEIS Scrips percentage of 7% which is being given to the tour operators for last couple of years. They mentioned that IATO has been requesting to increase the percentage to 10% and it should be retained to 7 %, if it cannot be increased and also there should not be any capping and SEIS to tour operators is released without any compromise on the percentage.

They also discussed with the Hon’ble Minister the cascading effect of GST on the tour operators and requested to remove this anomaly by charging GST on the deemed value which could be 10% of gross billing of the tour operators. This will allow the service to be taxed at 18% on 10% mark-up, which means effective rate of GST on the total package cost will work out to 1.8% of gross billing of the tour operator to his client with no ITC.  It was also requested that GST/IGST to be fully exempted on the services provided outside India i.e. in neighbouring countries even if package includes India tour as this is causing loss of business for the tour operators. As a result of tax exemption, bookings will come to Indian Tour operators instead of such bookings going to tour operators based in neighbouring countries. This will add considerable foreign exchange for the country.

Another issue that was taken up was levy of Tax Collection at Source (TCS) on sale of overseas tour package and it was requested that TCS should not be made applicable to persons / companies who are non-resident foreign citizens/tourists/foreign tour operators located outside India for purchasing tour packages through an Indian tour operators for outside India specified clearly.

The matter of loan under  ECLGS was raised requesting to amend the guidelines issue by NCGTC as banks are not entertaining application of tour operators for availing the ECLGS scheme benefit. It was given to understand that revised guidelines are going to be issued to the Banks.  

Last and the most important point that was taken up with the Hon’ble Finance Minister was long pending demand of the tourism industry to treat tourism industry as deemed exporter at par with IT Industry under Export of Services based on their foreign exchange earnings by relaxing the parameters/definition of Export of Service and by changing the criteria of place of supply.

The meeting with the Hon’ble Finance Minister was very encouraging and useful. Not only she gave patient hearing to the issues raised by Mr. Mehra and Mr. Sarkar but also assured to look into the suggestions/recommendations made by IATO based on its merit, which could benefit the tourism industry. 


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