Hyderabad, June 3, 2021: TAAI Travel Agents Association of India delegation today met V. Srinivas Goud, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Prohibition & Excise, Sports & Youth Services, and Archaeology, Government of Telangana at his official residence in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad and submitted a representation.
The team lead by Mr. Nagesh Pampati, Chairman – Telangana, and AP states of TAAI; and accompanied by Mr. Ranga Reddy, Chairman of IATO(Indian Association of Tour Operators) Telangana and AP Chapter; Mr. Siraj Ansari, President of TOAT(Tour Operators Association of Telangana
TAAI is India’s largest and oldest Travel & Tourism Association and has been actively leading Travel & Tourism Industry for the last 70 years.
While all sectors across the world are talking about ‘revival’, the travel and tourism industry is worrying about ‘survival’. That is why we have come to present representation to the Ministry to bail us out from this crisis.
We need Roti. Kapda, Makan, three things essential for living. But, now we also need bandwidth and pleasure and recreation in present circumstances. And Neighbourhood Tourism and Trave can offer this, Nagesh Pampati added.
We are glad that Telangana Chief Minister Mr. K. Chandrashekhar Rao chose the historical monument, Golconda Fort, over Parade Ground for Independence Day Celebrations soon after coming into power. This has sent a strong message that he was committed to the development of Tourism in the state. It has also boosted the Tourism Industry. Telangana has more tourist attractions such as Laknavaram, many waterfalls like Bogatha, pilgrimages, etc. We must encourage “Neighbour Tourism” if long-distance tourism is not possible. Also, we want Rural and Village tourism too to be promoted said Nagesh Pampati.
The delegation urged the Minister and sought his support to advise the Banks to offer Tours and Travel Industry interest-free loans up to Rs 25 Lakhs to be repaid back in the next 3 financial years. If an amount of above Rs 25 Lakhs is sought, Banks can charge a nominal interest rate they said.
They also requested the Minister to consider Waiver of Property Taxes for 2021-2022 for the offices they currently occupy. We have paid taxes for 2020-2021 and the current taxes is a huge burden on us, the delegation told the Minister
The delegation also sought the Minister’s intervention in vaccinating the entire Tourism and Travel industry on a priority basis and allotted us a few Urban Primary Health Centers with slots dedicated for them.
The industry wants support for their employees by paying Rs 5000/- a month till March 2022. Though the industry witnessed huge losses, it has not retrenched staff because of the appeal made by the Hon’ble Chief Minister Mr. Chandra Shekhar Rao last year not to sack or remove employees. Further, they want Aarogya Shree to be extended to Tourism employees as they are true ambassadors, promote tourism, and earn revenue for the state.
Further, they appealed to the government to facilitate a soft loan to the staff to the extent of Rs two lakhs from the banks per person, in order to fulfill their urgent needs. They have also sought fee waivers in schools and colleges for the staff working in the Tours and Travel Industry as they are unable to pay fees for their children.
Mr. Srinivas Goud, Minister paid a patient listening to their appeals. And he assured them that their representation shall be looked into. He also told the delegation that he would convene a meeting this week with them and officials to familiarize them with their problem and explore various options possible to help the industry bounce back.
Telangana boasts of well over 10,000 Travel Agents and Tour Operators. Nearly 10 lakh depend on this industry for their livelihood directly and another 50 lakh indirectly. The tourism industry in the state contributes 10% to the State’s GDP. Until 2014, just 75,000 foreign tourists used to visit the then combined state. After the formation of Telangana, the number steadily rose to 3.5 crores. They used to bring a lot of economic value and much-needed foreign exchange to our country and the state. Nearly 10 crore footfalls of domestic travelers used to take place. Now that all vanished due to the pandemic. We need government’s support first to make the industry survive and then revive, said Nagesh Pampati, Chairman of TAAI, Telangana and AP Chapter
We want the Telangana Government to promote tourism on the line of Kerala, Gujarat, Manipur. immediately after the pandemic ends. Many Government’s like Manipur, AP have announced revival packages informed Mr. Ranga Reddy, Chairman of IATO(Indian Association of Tour Operators) Telangana and AP Chapter
Many places in the world and in India too rely heavily on tourism as a key source of income and employment. The Tourism industry helps to create more jobs and supports many allied industries, they said.