1st March 2016
To All Members,
Sub: Union Budget 2016-17
Greetings from IATO !
We are greatly disappointed with the Union Budget 2016-17 announced yesterday. We made all our efforts directly by making several representations to the Finance Minister, Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and all other concerned authorities and also through FAITH and Chamber of Commerce. Even we had approached Ministry of Commerce directly and also through Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) and the Service Export Promotion Council (SEPC). But unfortunately, could not get the exemption from service tax based on our foreign exchange earnings neither for tourism industry nor for hospitality industry. Instead, the service tax has been increased with 0.5% Kisan kalyan Cess (w.e.f. 01 June 2016) and to our surprise abatement to tour operators also has been reduced to 70% from 75% (w.e.f. 01 April 2016). This is absolutely ignoring the tourism industry in spite of its valuable contribution in national exchequer, employment generation and national integration. However, our efforts will continue till we achieve success.
Even though we were successful in getting the sudden increase of ASI monument fee deferred till 1st April 2016 which gave 6 months lean period for the members to inform their overseas counterparts and make their costing accordingly. However, we are still trying that this increase should be rational and should be done in a phased manner and not in one go. If this demand of ours is not accepted, the Executive Committee has already decided to take legal course in the matter.
You will be glad to know that our demand to get E-Tourist Visa extended to 150 countries has already been met by the government. We are awaiting for the following announcements to be made by the government:-
• To increase window of e-Tourist Visa application from 30 days to 180 days:
• To allow Double/Multiple Entry for e-Tourist Visa applicants
• Duration of stay under the E-Tourist Visa scheme to be increased from 30 days to 60 days
• Bio-metric process for visas be done only on arrival at international airports in India for all tourist visa.
• To extend e-Tourist Visa facility at Sea Ports
• E-Tourist Visa for MICE/Medical tourists.
We are hopeful the above announcements will be made soon as a verbal commitment has already been made in this regard.
As informed you today, Visa on Arrival for Japanese Nationals has been announced w.e.f. 1st March 2016 besides e- Tourist Visa for which a circular has already been sent to the members.
An emergency meeting of the EC has been called for tomorrow before our luncheon meeting at the Vasant Continental to chalk out further line of action. We are examining all alternative aspects including legal course.
The above will also be discussed during our luncheon meeting tomorrow, the 2nd March 2016 at 1230 hrs at Jaypee Vasant Continental, New Delhi. We look forward to have your valuable inputs in the matter.
Since this will be the last interactive meeting of the present EC with the members, we request all of you to make it convenient to attend in large numbers and stand for the cause we want to move forward.
Thanking you and with best regards,
Subhash Goyal Pronab Sarkar
President Hony. Secretary