IATO Write To Shri Prahlad Singh Patel, Hon’ble Minister of State For Tourism Government Of India for financial bailout package for tourism industry due to impact of COVID - 19
Ref No. DEL/IATO/2020 20th March 2020
Shri Prahlad Singh Patel
Hon’ble Minister of State for Tourism
Government of India
SUB: REQUEST FOR FINANCIAL BAILOUT PACKAGE FOR TOURISM INDUSTRY DUE TO IMPACT OF COVID-19
Hon’ble Tourism Minister,
Namaste from Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) !
With the ongoing global crisis of Coronavirus (COVID-19), Indian tourism industry is badly affected. The total tourism business activity of India is estimated at $28 billion, including Rs 2 lakh crore in domestic tourism activity. As per the preliminary reports coming in from our members we have lost about 15 lakh foreign tourists arrivals in the month of March and April and we are not sure of the future business. Tourism industry will go into big loss of about 15,000 crores of foreign exchange. This has caused lot of our members business going into big losses and some small companies are on the verge of closing their business, as they are not in a position to meet the expenses and survive. Tourism is an economic activity, which is providing highest jobs all over India and we expect loss of employment in large numbers as per the present situation.
We would like to thank the Hon’ble Prime Minister for announcing in his address that the Government has set up a Finance Minister led Covid-19 Economic Response Task Force, which would assess the requirements of various sectors and also oversee implementation of the proposed measures. Special Task Force will decide on the response to mitigate the economic impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic. The Taskforce will regularly consult all stakeholders and take decisions as appropriate
At this time of global crisis, the tourism industry is looking for support from the Government for survival and avoid loss of jobs.
We need the following support from the Government;-
1. We request our government to give bailout financial package to defray the salaries of the employees which can be decided based on the turnover of the company in last financial year and the employees strength.
2. A 9 to 12 months moratorium on all principle and interest payments on loans and overdrafts brining in liquidity allowing for business continuity. Our demand is not loan waiver, just a delay on payments as our cash flow will now go down to zero for inbound and majorly decreased for domestic and other segments. We are expecting for next 6 months, no business to travel companies means no ability to meet basic costs. If we do not get this support, the tourism industry in the next 45-90 days will find itself unable to pay back loans and the banks will be flooded with NPAs. We will also probably see bankruptcies emerge among many of us.
3. Interest free or low interest loans for the tourism sector for rebuilding business and immediate transmission to the industry on term loans and working capital loans.
4. Fast track all GST refunds for the industry wherever they are getting stuck.
The industry wishes to avoid mass lay-offs of employees. But this will be inevitable if we do not get immediate cash relief. There are also today zero re-employment opportunities across the industry for anyone let go. Tourism is one of the largest employers in the country and so the quantum of this disaster can only be imagined.
The Association prays that the above suggestions may kindly be considered by the Ministry of Finance/COVID 19 Economic Response Taskforce, which has been set up, based on their merit and keeping in view the challenges Indian Tourism Industry is facing due to which we are unable to sustain in business. This is also resulting loss of employment as the staff strength is reducing day by day.
May I request that our recommendations may kindly be sent to Hon’ble Minister of Finance/COVID-19 Economic Response Taskforce for the relief which may kindly be considered sympathetically for to us survive and avoid job losses.
We are ready to call on you at a short notice to explain our problems as per date/time convenient to you and explain our problems.
Thanking you and with best regards
For INDIAN ASSOCIATION OF TOUR OPERATORS
Mr. Yogendra Tripathi, Secretary (Tourism), Government of India, Transport Bhawan, New Delhi.
Mrs. Meenakshi Sharma, Director General Tourism, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
Mrs. Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General Tourism, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
Mr. Rakesh Kumar Verma, Joint Secretary (Tourism), Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, New Delhi.