Fearing huge financial burden owing to cancellation of conferences as well as marriage and banquet bookings to stave off coronavirus (COVID-19) spread, the hotel industry has asked for deferment of bank loans and statutory dues. Besides, they have sought GST (goods and services tax) holiday till the besieged industry hits the revival route.
“Most of the hotel owners have taken loans from banks and in the current situation, it seems difficult for us to pay interest and bank EMIs (Equated Monthly Instalments). Banks should be advised to consider the situation and cooperate with us and defer the EMIs and interest till the situation becomes normal. Also, CIBIL (Credit Information Bureau Ltd) score should not be affected in the current business environment. Similar measures have already been taken by countries like USA and China”, J K Mohanty, co-chairman, Ficci tourism national council and chairman (eastern region), Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) wrote in a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The hoteliers have also demanded to defer payment of statutory dues like advance tax payments and provident fund to employees, among others.
Such interventions from the central government will support the travel and hospitality industries in this moment of exigent crisis, they reasoned.
At the level of state governments, they have called for waiver of fees for upcoming licenses, permits or renewals such as municipality holding tax, bar license fee, ground water fee and electricity fee till the travel and tourism industry recoups from the crisis precipitated by COVID-19 pandemic.
To facilitate the smooth recovery of hotel and travel businesses, Mohanty has advocated GST holiday for the next 12 months.
He has also demanded immediate sanction of funds on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) for employees engaged in tourism sector till revival happens.