AN Exclusive INTERVIEW with NEERAJ MALHOTRA , TAAI Chairman, Northen Region WITH Meenal BARAPATRE :
The rapid spread of the coronavirus has affected many business sectors more particularly the Tourism Industry which is the worst to suffer thus leaving many famous destinations nearly empty.
Many tourists are cancelling their tickets due to fear of this dreaded Virus.
Meenal Bharapatre of Tours and Travels India is also reeling from Coronavirus concerns which has hampered the Tourism Industry to a large extent.
She had an interaction with the Northern India TAAI Chairman Mr. Neeraj Malhotra to get his narration on the overall plight of the Tourism Industry due to this Coronavirus.
Speaking to Meenal, Neeraj Malhotra said “Tourism Industry is passing through crucial and tough
times in my 34 Years in the industry. I have never seen such bad times. The present situation is due to media hype clients are panicking and thus cancelling their trips. Therefore the total loss of should be somewhere around 60-70 Percent adding that there are no future bookings and with summer season approaching, we were looking at the growth rate of about 10 to 15 Percent which seems to be a distant dream now.
Neeraj further said that since the tourism industry is not given the industry status by the government it was our request to the government to look at the industry as a Industry adding further, I must let you know that we are the third largest revenue generator and despite generating foreign exchange for the exchequer and creating lakhs of jobs we are neglected and therefore the government should recognise the travel industry as an industry.
Our other demands from the government is:
1.To regulate and issue a notification to all the airlines operating out of india to give relief to the customers to rebook and give waivers on their cancellation policies.
- The Government has levied a new tax notified as TCS (Tax collection at Source) and the tax is 5 percent for those travelers giving their PAN Numbers and 10 Percent to those who will not give their PAN Numbers. Now we have to collect and deposit them periodically and report it to the government. He further emphasized that it is my prayer to the government to kindly defer this as the industry is facing such huge challenges where there is no business and if this tax continues, it is feared that we all travel agents and tour operators will be atleast 5 Percent expensive than the operators who are operating out of the country and the impact of this will be:
A. Loss of revenue to the exchequer in form of no Income Tax, no GST, no other taxes and loss of foreign exchange earnings.
B. Closure of small and medium travel companies will lead to loss of jobs which will further create unemployment.
Continuing he said “What we urge to the Hon’ble Prime Minister Modi ji is to intervene personally and announce relief to our industry such as relief in income tax, relief in GST etc for a moratorium period of atleast one year or above. He should also use his Man ki Baat program to create faith in the general public to support our industry .
Further adding he said as this crises will not end up so soon we on our part are addressing them by telling them to promote and focus on Domestic travel on other countries where there is no impact on corona virus such as Mauritius,Srilanka,South Africa to name a few for the time being
“We are also requesting our overseas tour operators to be lenient in cancellations and changes in dates etc
‘We are also asking our fellow Travel Agents to contact the Airlines for a free change in dates which will save the customers getting their tickets cancelled. And if the client needs to cancel, I would profess them to issue credit notes for the client to be with them and should come back when all will be well
In conclusion he said it is his sincere prayers to God that this crisis ends up soon.
News IN PUT BY
; Meenal Barapatre , Associate Editor , Tours and Travels , INDIA .