DEL/057/2020                                                                 17th September 2020 


Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman

Minister for Finance

Ministry of Finance

Government of India

North Block

New Delhi-110001


Hon’ble Finance Minister Madam,


Sub: SEIS benefits to Tour Operators - helps to grow Foreign Tourists arrivals, Earn Valuable Foreign Exchange for Economic Growth and Generate Employment for the Country 


Greetings from IATO !


As you are aware, tour operators are playing vital role for the growth of inbound tourism and international tourist arrivals to our country. They are the extended marketing arms for the Ministry of Tourism who generate business through various modes of marketing and promotions throughout the year. They prepare the complete itineraries by scheduling, selecting cities for visits, choice of hotels as per the budget of the clients, selecting transportation vehicles, domestic airlines or train to connect destinations as per the itinerary. Therefore,  they play a key role in developing a destination for  promoting and marketing with years of knowledge and experience. Hence, they play an important role in creating millions of jobs in every nook and corner of our country and support the economic activities, beside earning valuable foreign exchange for the country.


With the help of SEIS benefits tour operators are utilising the funds for following measures to attract foreign tourists to India and increase India’s share of business by counteracting neighbouring countries :-  


1.     To give competitive package tours to foreign tour operators/clients to compete with our neighbouring countries and add value for tourists’ products. Considering the expectation of getting SEIS of 2019-20, tour operators have already passed on the added value to their foreign tour operators/tourists in order to compete with other foreign countries/competitors and divert tourists to India.        

2.     Door to Door aggressive Overseas Sales Promotion and Marketing through multiple sales tours to various source markets & emerging markets and spending for air travel, hotel accommodation, local travel and food.

3.     Printing of brochure in different foreign languages, create website and online promotion showcasing Indian tourism products, Culture, Heritage, History, best available hotels and palaces.

4.     Marketing and promotions through participation in International travel marts/exhibitions/expo and road shows covering all source markets and emerging markets. 

5.     Showcasing India by extending Familiarisation Tours in India 

6.     Active promotion on Social Media -Web promotions, face book, Instagram, Webinars and so on.


For your information following were the growth of international tourist arrivals to India in last couple of years (source Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India) :- 


2017 (Jan to Dec)

2018 (Jan to Dec)

2019 (Jan to Dec)

2020 (Jan to Feb)

2020 (March)


(increased growth of 14%)*


(increased growth of 5.2%)**


(increased growth of 3.2%)**

21,33,782 as compared to

21,91,074 in January-February 2019 

(Decrease of 2.6%)***

3,28,462 as compared to 9,78,236 

in March 2019

(Decrease of 66.4%)***


*Increase of 14% in 2017 was due to E-visa facility.

**Growth decreased in 2018 and 2019 due to higher GST rate of 28% on Hotel room making it 23% average on tour package cost which was highest in comparison to average 6 to 8 % in South East Asian countries.

*** Decrease in foreign tourist arrivals was due to Covid -19 starting from February, suspension of all international flights and all tourists Visas in January 2020. There are no international tourist arrivals since April 2020 and tourism has come to standstill with zero business, zero billing.


Foreign Exchange earned by the tourism industry since 2017 is as under(source Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India) :-  



2017 (Jan to Dec)

(In US $ Billion)

2018 (Jan to Dec)

(In US $ Billion)

2019 (Jan to Dec)

(In US $ Billion)

2019 (Jan & Feb)

(In US$ Billion)

2020 (March)

(In US $ Billion)

27.310 (Increase of 19.1%)

28.585 (increase of 4.7%

29.962 (increase of 4.8%)

5.401 as compared to 5.072 

 in January- February 2019. 

(increase of 6.5%)

0.785 as compared to 2.331 

 in the month of  March 2019. 

(Decrease of 66.3%)



Under normal circumstances the sector is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 6.9% to ?32.05 lakh crore (US$450 billion) by 2028 (9.9% of GDP) and Contributes 42.673 million jobs, 8.1% of its total employment, the sector is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 7.5% as per World Travel and Tourism Council of India. 


Under the present circumstances due to Covid-19, tour operators do not have any business since March 2020 and there is no hope to revive business before April 2021 or beyond. All Tour Operators are facing huge challenge to survive and at present without your help and SEIS benefits it is not possible to continue our existence.  


Madam, without the support of SEIS benefits tour operators shall not be able to perform and compete with our neighbouring countries and attract more foreign tourists to India. This will result in loss of business, thus losing valuable foreign exchange for the country and loss of jobs.


As you are aware, our Central Government has announced various financial package in the past few months but unfortunately our Industry did not get any such financial help.  All our members are reeling under financial crisis as it has become very difficult to manage anymore and survive without any earnings for last 5 month. Expenses are static like rentals, electricity bills, EMI’s and members are unable to pay any salary to support the staff now. It is not out of place to mention that many of our members had to sell their tourist vehicles as unable to pay EMI's and shifted their rented office premises to residence beside sending majority of staff on leave without pay and drivers lost their jobs.


We are happy that Government is impressing upon Atamnirbhar Bharat and this is not out of place to mention that we are Atamnirbhar since our inception from last 30 to 40 years. All small and medium tour operators are supporting the Government not only by generating jobs but also earning valuable foreign exchange for the country. 


But under the present Covid-19 pandemic, till now we have not got any help for our revival or  support from the government for the tourism industry to survive and remain Atamnirbhar. 


We, therefore, request you for the following:- 


   i)        To increase SEIS Scrips percentage from 7% to 10% for the tour operators. 

  ii)       To announce the SEIS Scrips for 2019-20 at the earliest 


This assistance is the only hope and shall help tour operators for survival and revival and remain Atamnirbhar, which is not possible without support from the government due to present critical status of inbound tourism to India. Tour operators are now depending on SEIS benefits for 2019-20 for survival, failing all tour operators may collapse. 


We assure you, post Covid-19, with the support of the Government, Indian tourism industry will bounce back and we shall be able to bring back foreign tourists to India, earn valuable foreign exchange for the country and also create more jobs in tourism industry and will make move to Atamnirbhar. 


The entire tourism industry is looking towards you for your help when all of them are struggling hard to survive and look after their employees.  


Thanking you and with best regards, 






Pronab Sarkar


(M) 9811102111


Copy to :


Shri Anurag Singh Thakur

Minister of State (Finance and Corporate Affairs)

Ministry of Finance, Government of India

North Block, New Delhi - 110001


Shri Ajay Bhushan Pandey

Revenue Secretary & Ex-Officio Secretary to the GST Council

Ministry of Finance, Government of India 

North Block, New Delhi 110001