In a letter sent to the government authorities, the Tours & Travels Association of Andhra point outs the impact of Covid on the travel and hospitality sector in a comprehensive manner listed the relief measures to ensure the immediate survival of travel agents and tour operators in the state. Tours & Travels Association of Andhra mentions, “The COVID 19 has throttled and turned upside down the travel Industry and the cascading effect of the virus has crippled the industry for the past 17 months and we have never seen a meltdown of this kind. The travel industry is looking at bankruptcies, closure of businesses and mass unemployment.”
The travel agents in Andhra Pradesh have about 6000 employees, and with no revenues, almost all Tourism businesses have run out of any capital and unable to pay salaries to staff, Tours & Travels Association of Andhra are expecting that about 95% of the employees would have lost their jobs by now.
An approximate 50% of the agents have almost become bankrupt and are on the verge of closing down their businesses, and with nothing else, they are struggling to make both ends meet, and if the present situation continues 90% of the travel agents would close down by the year-end.
“The need of the hour is the Government coming out with some concessions and immediately bailing out the travel Industry. There are about close to 1000 travel agents in the state and we as an Association have 400 plus members and close to 200 travel agents are already registered with APTA. We had no business almost for 17 months, The travel agents in the state of Andhra Pradesh would have had cash losses of approximately Rs.25 crores per month and a cash loss of about Rs.425 crores end May 2021,” the association states.
The Government of Andhra Pradesh was proposed to extend working capital loan through the banks and to provide interest subsidy, but there has been a lot of reluctance from the banks on the same. The association request the Government to give to bail out the Travel agents with a Grant amount of upto Rs. 5 Lakhs to each travel company and Rs.50000/- to each employee or to work out a Loan model of upto 20 Lakhs with the State Financial Corporation with Interest. Tours & Travels Association of Andhra also seek support for the three agents who passed away in the pandemic.
Tours & Travels Association of Andhra demands the state Government to declare Travel and tourism as an industry considering its contribution to the GDP as well as the employment it provides. The states of Maharashtra, Kerala, Jammu, Jharkhand, Himachal, Assam, and Pondicherry have already declared tourism as an Industry.
The association said it was hopeful that the government will consider their requests and help the sector in distress.