Representatives of the Tours and Travels Association of AP on Wednesday urged the State Government to bail out the travel industry and also take up their issues with the Centre. “There are close to 1,000 travel agents in the state and the Association has 400-plus members. The travel agents in Andhra Pradesh have lost revenue of over Rs 2,000 crore due to Covid-19 and we will be losing Rs 3,400 crore of business by the year-end. We expect our net loss to reach about Rs 275 crore this year,” said AP Tours and Travel Association president K Vijay Mohan.
The association has also sought support measures for tourism in Andhra Pradesh as well as its stakeholders under a comprehensive Tourism Aid and Restructuring Package. “The Coronavirus has choked the travel Industry and the cascading effect of the virus has crippled the industry and we have never seen a meltdown of this kind. Whereas rest of India actually shut down by end of March, business for travel agents shut in January, as the news of the virus started spreading. The percentage of cancellations started going up in this segment exponentially and is reaching a peak of almost 90 per cent in January was 100 per cent in February. It was only the travel industry that started losing money from as early as January, we started getting cancellations from the time the Corona cases started to come up in Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Japan. It was only the travel industry which shut down much earlier than any other business across the globe,” said Vijay Mohan.
Tourism businesses have run out of working capital and unable to pay salaries to staff, EMIs, Advance tax, PF, ESIC, GST, he said. “We request the State Government declare travel and tourism as an industry considering its contribution to the GDP as well as the employment it provides. The states of Maharashtra, Kerala, Jammu, Jharkhand, Himachal, Assam, and Pondicherry have already declared tourism as an industry,” said Vijay Mohan. Interstate road taxes and intracity tax exemption for tourist buses, aggressive marketing and promotion of state tourism, removal of restrictions for tourists up to 144 hours and restarting adventure tourism are some of the suggestions made by the association to the state government.
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