BHUBANESWAR: Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has recommended a slew of measures for revival of travel, tourism and hospitality industry post lockdown.
The travel and tourism sector was the worst hit during the COVID-19 pandemic with the government imposing restrictions on movement and people avoiding crowded places to remain protected from the virus infection.
Apart from seeking extension of moratorium on all working capital, principal, interest payments, loans and overdrafts for another one year and low interest rate, the industry body demanded the period of restructuring for hotels be extended till March 2024 and repayment period under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Schemes (ECLGS) enhanced to 10 years.
Co-chair of FICCI Tourism Committee and CMD of Swosti Group JK Mohanty said though the RBI's proposed capping of extension in repayment tenure is two years based on the assumptions, the future looks bleak. "It may take three to four years for normalcy to be restored in operations. That's why the period of restructuring the sector be extended for at least four years and repayment period to 10 years," he reasoned.
The committee members also urged to create a separate tourism fund under the aegis of the Ministry of Tourism and bailout packages to fund and support the salaries in the sector in the time of crisis.
They demanded TCS exemption for online travel agencies in line with GST holiday granted to airline and hospitality sector. Estimated TCS liability for entire OTA sector would be around Rs 460 crore. "Hotels should be given permission to host all kinds of banquets and conference with a ceiling of 50 per cent of venue capacity and maintaining social distancing norm," said FICCI eastern region tourism committee chairman Souvagya Mohapatra.