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Stimulus package reactions: Is space more important than tourism, asks hotels association chief

The tourism industry was looking forward to a deep set of survival measures for the sector from the Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package.

May 18, 2020 / 03:31 PM IST

The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) has taken a dig at the stimulus package announced by the government to help the Indian economy tide over the coronavirus-induced crisis.

"I am really shocked that tourism and hospitality was completely ignored despite PM Modi mentioning hospitality as one of the five pillars in his speech. We don't know what was the criteria of importance. Is space programme more important than tourism? We had made 20 representations to the Department of Tourism, Ministry of tourism but not even one has been considered," said Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice-President, FHRAI (Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India) and President Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI)

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In a separate press release,Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH), the policy federation of all the national associations representing the complete tourism, travel and hospitality industry of India, said the Indian tourism industry has gone into a state of 'disbelief' and 'shock'.

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The tourism industry was looking forward to a deep set of survival measures for the sector from the Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package.

It has already seen over one quarter of accumulated losses, which began from February onwards.

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All tourism service providers, the hotels, travel agents, tour operators, tourist transporters, restaurants, guides will be compromised and the tourism industry of India will be operating with extreme under capacities making most tourism businesses unviable on a cash operating basis, Kohli said.

To prevent this and to ensure survival, FAITH had proposed a dedicated interest and collateral free long-term fund for paying salaries and operating costs and for a minimum of 12 months of complete waiver of fixed central and state statutory and banking liabilities without any penal or compounding interest which have not been addressed.

The proposed MSME fund with its many underlying restrictions may have a very limited usage, it said.

FAITH and its ten member associations were constantly in discussions with with all factions of the Government over the past 10 weeks the PMO, ministries of Finance, commerce, aviation, and tourism, with RBI, with all 28 chief ministers, Niti Aayog and with the Empowered Group 6.

With no visibility of cash inflows, the Indian tourism industry is now staring at business closures, which will lead to job losses across cities and towns of India.

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Himadri Buch
first published: May 18, 2020 03:18 pm

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