6 Nov :In continuation with its dialogue with the stake holders in the tourism sector in India to assess the impact of global meltdown, the Ministry of Tourism today invited Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) and Hotel Association of India (HAI). The seven member IATO delegation was led by its President, Shri Vijay Thakur. During their meeting with the Secretary,
Tourism Shri Sujit Banerjee, the members of the delegation expressed their concern on the ongoing global financial crisis and assured the Ministry that they will work in close cooperation with the Government to meet the challenges in the coming months. The Tour Operators welcomed the suggestion given by the Tourism Secretary to the hoteliers of slashing of room tariffs in his meeting on 5.11.2008. They said reduced room tariffs will send a right signal to the traveler coming to India from across the globe. Secretary, Tourism Shri Sujit Banerjee urged the tour operators to promote international as well as domestic tourism in a big way and focus on new circuits such as Puri – Bhubaneswar – Konark, Amritsar – Kurukshetra – Haridwar, Nasik – Aurangabad – Nanded and Dwarka – Gir – Diu at par with Golden Triangle circuit of Delhi – Agra – Jaipur. He said in the present time, aggressive marketing is required and government is ready to give all possible assistance to tour operators under its Market Development Assistance (MDA) scheme to sustain the growth of tourism in India. He asked Tour Operators to submit a Strategy Paper to the ministry to chalk out a common action plan to meet the challenges in the wake of global financial crisis. The Tour Operators drew the attention of the Government towards some of the problems being faced by them. They wanted removal of luxury tax on hotels, easing of service tax and revival of airlines commission for agents.
In his meeting with Hotel Association of India (HAI), Shri Banerjee reiterated his suggestion to slash room tariffs by 10 to 15% to meet the challenges posed by the global economic meltdown. The suggestion was conveyed to the President of HAI Smt. Priya Paul when she called on him here today. Smt. Priya Paul conveyed to the government that she will request all members of the HAI to consider the suggestion regarding room tariffs and formulate their response soon. The HAI delegation urged the Tourism Secretary to pursue the matter of delinking of hotels from real estate and take steps for boosting liquidity for hotel construction activity in the country. The Secretary, Tourism assured the delegation that his Ministry will extend all possible assistance to the hotel industry for its growth in the country.