In continuation of its efforts to highlight the issues and concerns of the outbound industry to those in the office of power, Riaz Munshi, President, Outbound Tour Operators of India (OTOAI), yesterday met the Tourism Minister, Prahlad Singh Patel to discuss the woes of the tourism sector. At a detailed meeting held in the Ministry of Tourism Office, the Presidents of few leading Travel Trade Associations enumerated their demands/relief they are seeking from the Government to help sail the travel fraternity through this tough time.
OTOAI, since long, has been advocating a five-point agenda, comprising – roll-back of the TCS, not make Pan Card mandatory for foreign remittances for foreign nationals and non-resident Indians, grant relief from GST, allow outbound tour operators to take interest-free loans and expansion of working capital.
“The Tourism Minister listened patiently to all that we had to say and was extremely sympathetic and understanding regarding all the issues. He has assured us that roll-back of TCS, not making pan card necessary for foreign remittances for foreign nationals and NRIs will be taken up with the government on priority. The Minister is hopeful that all these discussions will have a positive outcome and that relief on these fronts will be announced soon. We are also keeping our fingers crossed for the same,” said Munshi.
Some additional points which were discussed during the meeting were the possibility of introducing licensing requirement for operating travel and tourism business and about capital inducement for the MSME agents, which is currently only available for the existing customers who are availing overdraft or loan facilities. The Tourism Minister has assured us that he will look into these points as well.
Meanwhile, OTOAI, through various social media updates and press support, is working judiciously to highlight the concerns of the outbound tour operators at various forums.