Seeks Kashmir specific package for travel sector
Srinagar, June 29: Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) Tuesday said the financial support announced by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is miniscule and not beneficial for the travel agents registered with the state governments.
In a statement, TAAK President Farooq Kuthoo said most of the travel and tour organisers in Kashmir are not registered with the Ministry of Tourism and the registration process is also cumbersome.
“The package will not be beneficial for most of the travel agents based in Kashmir as only few of them are registered with the Ministry of Tourism, GoI. The financial support package should be extended to all travel agents who are also registered with their respective state or UT governments,” said Kuthoo in the statement.
He added that the Government of India should also announce a special package for the tourism industry based in Jammu and Kashmir which have been the worst hit in the country.
Kuthoo said the travel industry in Jammu and Kashmir has been affected badly not only by Covid19 pandemic but also due to a lockdown post August 19.
“We welcome the GoI’s consideration for the tourism sector but it is too little and for a miniscule number of registered tour operators. The travel agents from Kashmir were never compensated so far. This scheme has to be revised to incorporate all stakeholders especially from Kashmir division,” said TAAK President.
TAAK also also reiterated its demand of GST amnesty since 2019.
TAAK also demanded that the registration process with MoT should also be made quick and hassle-free.
Notably, the Finance Minister announced that the government would provide free visas to 5 lakh tourists visiting India.
Sitharaman said financial support would be provided to more than 11,000 registered tourist guides, travel and tourism stakeholders recognised by the Ministry of Tourism.
She also announced working capital or personal loans to people in the tourism sector to discharge liabilities or restart businesses impacted due to Covid-19.
Loans will be provided with 100% guarantee with a limit of ₹10 lakh for travel and tourism stakeholders and ₹ 1 lakh for registered tourist guides.
TAAK said working capital or personal loans are only an additional burden unless the government supports the stakeholders with huge incentives and concessions in the interest amount.