In the economic relief package, 10700 tourist guides will get one lakh rupees on government guarantee and the tourist agency will get a loan of up to 10 lakh rupees. Pradeep Lulla, president of the Travel Agents Federation of India, says that the government has only included 904 registered travel agents in the tourism ministry. Whereas, there are more than 3 thousand tour and travel agencies in UFTAA (Universal Federation of Travel Agent Association). He said that he will give a memorandum to the government to include all tour and travel agents in the package. Jai Bhatia, vice-president of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), reiterates the same point. They say that the government neither included the agents associated with the state tourism nor their association. If the government only wanted the data of travel agents, then it can also be obtained from GST registration. The tourism ministry has started the registration sometime back. Hence, the number of registrations is less. For this reason, only 20 percent will be able to benefit from this scheme of the government.
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Annual income of about 20 thousand crores to tour and travel operator
Tour and travel operators provide services like air/bus ticketing, hotels/packages for both leisure and corporate travel in India and abroad. According to a report by Crisil, their revenue is about 11 thousand crores. Whereas, according to Jai Bhatia of TAAI, if all agents, big or small, are included, then it works out to about 20 thousand crores. According to Crisil, only three companies saw a fall in revenue of Rs 2,300 crore in the last financial year. This was only 20% of the total revenue. Due to the nationwide lockdown and other restrictions, the number of visits has remained very low.
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It is necessary to promote tourism for the government and the country’s GDP.
Announcing the package, Finance Minister Sitharaman said that in the year 2019, about 10 million foreign tourists visited the country and they spent more than $ 30 billion. Foreign tourists visiting India usually come for 21 days and they spend an average of $ 34 (about 2500 rupees) per day. These include living, drinking and walking etc. Experts believe that if the tourism sector is given proper relief, along with increasing employment opportunities, the revenue of the government will also increase.