IATO Update - 7th August, 2018
7th August, 2018
IATO – AN UPDATE
2ND INDO NEPAL JOINT WORKING COMMITTEE MEET:
Above meet took place in Kathmandu on 6th July, 2018. The Indian delegation was led by Mr. Suman Billa. Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India Mr. Rajesh Mudgill, Hony. Secretary represented IATO. In the meeting it was agreed to set up the Indo-Nepal Tourist Forum with representation from Government and private sector from both sides for mutual consultation and promotion of Tourism in both countries. The joint working committee is decided to officially recognize two circuits Ramayana circuit and Buddhist circuit by both governments for joint promotions through common branding and marketing exercises.
GST RATES REDUCED FOR HOTELS:
GST council has done well in reducing tax that originally were 28% and now lowered for hotels charging @ Rs 7500/-to 18%. Above Rs 7500 to pay 28% but on actual rate negotiated Nodoubt rate of 28% was really too high. All the more, new decision that GST to be charged on actual tariffs to customers and not printed rate means a big relief. It means that incidence on tax will decline as tax will be charged on actual rates. This will give impetus to tourism and room costs will decline. IATO had been fighting for this since the day GST was put into operation. The issue related to reverse charge mechanism remained unresolved, just a relief till 30th September 2019. Our efforts to get this with drawn continues.
INDIA TOURISM MART
IATO is playing a major role in successful operation of the Mart. IATO members have offered special Pre/Post Convention tours and have also taken booth in the mart for boosting India destinations with overseas buyers.
IATO MEMBERS JOINED ROADSHOWS IN USA
Roadshows were organized in various places in USA by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India wherein 25 IATO members were present. The Indian delegation was led by Hon’ble Tourism Minister Mr. K. Alphons. The places included are New York, Houston, Chicago and St. Louis. These road shows proved very useful to develop new contacts for future business by our members.
EXEMPTING THE CRUISE TOURIST ARRIVING WITH E-VISA from the requirement of bio-metric enrolment. IATO had been pleading with the government about the problems being faced by the Cruise tourists about the inordinate delays in completing the immigration formalities including bio-metric at sea ports upon arrivals in India. This is a big relief and will boost cruise tourism. Presently facility of E-Visa is available at 5 sea ports ie Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai, Goa and Mangalore. Keeping in view the difficulties being experienced by the tourists due to inadequate number of immigration counters available at above five major sea ports, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India has exempted the cruise tourists arriving with E-visa at these 5 ports from the requirement of biometric involvement for a period of three years ie till 31st December, 2020 for the persons above the age of 12 years and below the age of Seventy years. This is a big achievement of IATO in streamlining the visa issues.
INTERNATIONAL BUDDHIST CONCLAVE: International Buddhist Conclave in Delhi and Aurangabad (Maharashtra) with site visit to Bodhgaya, Rajgir and Nalanda (Bihar) and Sarnath (Uttar Pradesh) from 23rd -26th August, 2018. Ministry of Tourism is expecting about 200 buyers from all over the globe. There will be B2B meeting on 24th August in Aurangabad at Ajanta Caves with overseas delegates. IATO Tour Operators will interact with them. IATO has also been given the responsibility to handle the guests of Ministry of Tourism hospitality from various overseas countries. IATO is in the process of forming the team to handle this job efficiently like previous Buddhist Conclave.
NEGATIVE PUBLICITY WHICH CAME WITH THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION IN CONDE NEST TRAVELER MENTIONING India is the most dangerous country on the planet for woman. IATO immediately raised protest and written to Secretary, Ministry of Tourism to issue letters to all Indian missions, India tourism office giving real fact and the action taken by Ministry about the safety of woman. The letter was addressed accordingly by our Secretary (Tourism) and members were given copies so that in turn they can forward to their counter parts overseas.
IATO GETS READY FOR 34TH ANNUAL CONVENTION 2018 AT VISHAKHAPATNAM (ANDHRA PRADESH): Online registration is now on and the response from members and other stake holders is very positive. The details about business sessions and speakers are being finalized.
IATO WRITES TO HON’BLE MINISTER OF TOURISM TO INTERVENE ON SUDDEN E-VISA FEE INCREASE BY MEA: On receipt of the feedback from our members, President IATO had addressed letters to Hon’ble Minister and Secretary(Tourism) to address do letters to Hon’ble Foreign Minister to maintain status quo as this sudden increase may lead for cancellation of groups and also does not go with Ministry of Tourism goal of achieving 20 million tourists by 2020. In fact, the visa fees be freezed till the goal of 20 million is achieved.
VISA ON ARRIVAL FOR SOUTH KOREA INTRODUCED: The facility of Visa –on-Arrival (VoA) facility to nationals of the Republic of South Korea with double entry for a period not exceeding 60 days for business, tourism, conference and medical purpose at 6 international airports viz Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad w.e.f 1st October, 2018