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Travel & Tourism Body seeks bailout package from CM in AP due to COVID-19

Tours-&-Travels-Association-of-Andhra

Representation to CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy by Tours & Travel Association of Andhra for bailout package due to COVID-19

To 11-06-2021
Shri. Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy Garu
Honourable Chief Minister
Government of Andhra Pradesh

2nd Appeal for your kind consideration. Request to kindly give us an appointment to submit our request in person at your convenient time sir.

Sub : Requests to the State Governments to bail out the Travel Industry

Respected Sir,
Greetings from the Tours & Travels Association of Andhra!

To begin with, we wish to place on record our deep appreciation to your kind self for taking pro-active decisions in extending benefits to our sector. On behalf of the entire Andhra Pradesh Travel and Tourism industry, we thank you for your strong leadership and positive efforts after the pandemic COVID 19 – 1. The COVID 19 – 2 wave coincidentally which commenced exactly after one year of the first wave has hit our sector once again, with a vengeance and in the process derailed the entire sector putting great stress on the stake holders who could not manage to overcome the situation of the COVID – 1 crisis. Data of COVID – 2 suggests that the present plight of the sector is far more severe with almost irreversible damage when compared to COVID -1 regime.

Travel & Tourism is the sector that has seen the worst impact of COVID-19 with a negative growth of 83 percent during the period April – December 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Also, this is the sector that couldn’t enter into the recovery phase since the eruption of COVID – 1 and as per a study report by McKinsey published in October 2020, recovery of the tourism sector to 2019 level may kick start as late as 2024.

The COVID 19 has throttled and turned upside Down the travel Industry and the cascading effect of the virus
has crippled the industry for the past 17 months and we have never seen a meltdown of this kind.

Capital wiped out, Income and wealth eroded

With almost all the capital wiped out and all Income and wealth of the travel agents have been eroded and if and when we resume we will all start on minus capital and in no position to sustain ourselves

Morale lost to the Tourism Industry which contributes 10% of the GDP

The tourism industry contributes 10% of the GDP, no industry is struggling like the tourism industry today, with no income and with no support or motivation from the central or state governments, banks are not giving any loans, with no money to pay salaries the travel agents have lost their complete morale and have sacked their employees and are moving toward their darkest days in life, not knowing what to do.

Agents closing down their business

An approximate 50% of the agents have almost become bankrupt and are on the verge of closing down their
businesses, and with nothing else, they are struggling to make both ends meet, and if the present situation continues 90% of the travel agents would close down by the year-end.

Loss of Jobs & Salaries to Employees

The travel agents in Andhra Pradesh have about 6000 employees, and with no revenues, almost all Tourism businesses have run out of any capital and unable to pay salaries to staff, we are expecting that about 95% of the employees would have lost their jobs by now.

Cash Losses to the travel agents in the state of Andhra Pradesh – Travel agents only include who sell Holiday tour packages for Inbound, Outbound, Domestic & Adventure tour operators, does not include transporters Cab Operators

The need of the hour is the Government coming out with some concessions and immediately bailing out the travel Industry. There are about close to 1000 travel agents in the state and we as an Association have 400 plus members andclose to 200 travel agents are already registered with APTA.

We had no business almost for 17 months, The travel agents in the state of Andhra Pradesh would have had cash losses of approximately Rs.25 crores per month and a cash loss of about Rs.425 crores end May 2021.

The travel agents are in a very pathetic situation and bleeding in a very challenging business scenario. Even and after the situation comes into control, the recovery will still take at least 2 years. The stakeholders alone will not be able to recover without financial relief from the government and the travel industry is looking at bankruptcies, closure of businesses, and mass unemployment. This is one of the worst crisis ever to hit the In dian tourism industry impacting all its geographical segments – inbound, outbound and domestic, almost all tourism verticals – leisure,adventure, heritage, MICE, cruise, corporate and niche segments. The whole tourism value chain across hotels, travel agents, tour operations, destinations, restaurants, family entertainment venues and air, land, and sea transportation have been hit.

Financial assistance to stakeholders: Request you to direct officials to form a committee with Tourism and Finance department officials and stake holders to come out with a financial support package to stake holders in our state to support employers to survive and sustain for this financial year. The Government of Andhra Pradesh GO RT No.243 dated 28-12-2020 which was proposed to extend working capital loan through the banks and to provide interest subsidy, but there has been a lot of reluctance from the banks on the same. We request the Government to give to kindly bail out the Travel agents with a Grant amount of upto Rs. 5 Lakhs to each travel company and Rs.50000/- to each employee or to work out a Loan model of upto 20 Lakhs with the State Financial Corporation with Interest

3 agents passed away, 13 were hospitalised, 52 were effected due of COVID

As the travel fraternity is looking at bankruptcy and during these critical phase of our lives, and from the information that we have from members who are part of our Association, we lost 3 travel agents due to COVID and 13 were hospitalised and 52 were effected for the Virus, and 2 family members passed away, 14 family members were hospitalised and 37 family members were effected for the Virus and this has completely destroyed them financially.

Request for Support of the three agents who passed away

In all the 3 deaths of our members, they are all the only earning members in the family, we request the government to support them with the 10 lakhs to these members. Raj Gopal – Survived by two daughters studying in the 4th and 8th Std, and wife is a housewife with no income. Chinta Suresh – Survived by one son and one daughter studying in the 10th and Inter, and wife is a housewife with no income. Ravi Kumar

PREDICTED-REVENUES-REVENUES-MADE-2020-&-2021

Power Bill Wavier

We request that all power bills be completely be waived off till the year end without any penalties, as all travel offices are shut down with no business for almost 17 months. To waive off the demand charges from April to September 2021, Energy charges payable on actual consumption basis only.

Deferment of payment of Property Tax

Waiver of Property Tax for the Year 2020 and 2021 for all companies connected to Travel & Tourism registered in AP. As you are aware that most of the Offices were either closed or non-Operative due to Lock Down and no Businessactivity from Feb 2020 till date.

Exemption on Renewal of trade Licence Fees

We request the exemption of Renewal of the trade Licence fee, as our industry has almost been shut down for 17 months now.

Advertisement Tax exemption

Most of the travel agents received notices to pay advertisement Tax from their respective Corporation/Municipalities, request the Government to kindly waive the same as the agents are in no position to pay the same.

Interstate Road Taxes & Intra City Tax Exemption for Tourist Buses

We request that the Interstate state taxes should be exemption up to March 31st, 2022, vehicle Operators are unable to operate vehicles due to the present crises. Hence, we appeal to give exemption from the payment of quarterly taxes. We also request that a complete tax exemption should be given from 8 seated and above mini busses operating as Intra City tourist buses till March 2021, considering that there is no tourism.

Request for notifying Tourism as a priority for Vaccination

It will be very important that all staff working in tourism are fully vaccinated for tourism Business recovery. So request to kindly to position tourism staff in the important list of people to be urgently vaccinated. Kerala, Kashmir, Leh, West Bengal under Memo No.128-Sec/H&FW/21 listed Tourism Sector Workers in the Priority list.

STIMULUS & SUGGESTIONS

Declare Travels As an Industry

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. By declaring as an Industry it would create a Stimulus forthe industry in the worst days we are facing.

MICE & Destination weddings

Visakhapatnam is one of the cities which will see a lot of MICE and Destination weddings, we request that the Hotels & Convention should also be allowed to open up all MICE based events and Destination Weddings. Instead of having a blanket of persons for weddings & MICE, the numbers should be based on the size of the venue. In fact, MICE is the most affected and will be for a very long time to come.

Declare 2022 as the Year of Visit Andhra Pradesh

We TTAA are taking the initiative to declare 2021 as the Year of Visit AP and we would like the Honourable CM sir to inaugurate this by flagging off this event and this will create a Buzz.

Shack Policy & Private Beach Zones for Foreigners

to Attract Foreign Tourist to come to Visakhapatnam we have to create good quality shacks, allow special Private beach zones for Foreigners and bring in a new shack policy

Create a new image Building for our state – A brand Ambassador

We have to create a New Image building for our state tourism and we have to identify a good celebrity and make him the brand ambassador for our tourism. We can look at Dhoni and we can use the tagline “Where Dhoni Fell in Love – Vizag.

Vizag to be declared as the First Open Sky Airport in the Country

We have to take it up with the Government of India to have Vizag declared as the First open sky airport in the Country – This will enable our state the benefit from the bilateral which is stopping Gulf airlines to come into Vizag, since we are a new state and since all our bilateral have been taken by Hyderabad, and we should convince the Govt of India. Also our Prime Minister was also keen to start the wheel and spook model.

Vizag as a gateway Destination

We need to promote Vizag as a Gateway destination to Orissa and Chhattisgarh – This strategy will help tourism grow ten folds especially Inbound tourism.

Tourist Visa on Arrival

We already have the visa on arrival allocated for Visakhapatnam. We need to request the government to also give permissions for Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVOA) to Visakhapatnam which will boost international tourist arrivals and investment proposals into our state

UNESCO Heritage sites

We need to have a few of our sites declared as UNESCO World Heritage sites and we can look at Yerra Matti Dibalu, Thotlakonda, Lepakshi, Tirupati or any other. In fact over the last few years various state governments have sent their applications for their sites to be considered

Religious Tourism

A special Budget has to be allocated to promote our religious tourism, we need to mark our state Ancient temples and develop itineraries and create regional and full circuits of the state. We also have to market our Shakti Peethas, out of the 18 main Shakti Peethas in India, 3 are in our state.

AP Travel Mart

We should do our own AP Travel mart where we showcase our state and invite National and International buyers.

To start a Night Safari at Vizag Zoo

A night safari with an open air Zoo that is only open in the Night has to be started. We should also start Cultural performances and also start food and Beverage outlets in the night safari.

Midnight Restaurants

Restaurants in Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam should be allowed to be opened until midnight

MICE

We have to give incentives to MICE groups that come into our state that are 300 or above and the incentives can be given in form of small gifts like our Aruku Coffee, A free Cultural Shows etc

State Level Tourism task force

A State Level Tourism task force along with representatives from key travel associations and Hotel Industry should beset up. This Tourism task force shall surely assist in a regular brainstorming over key Travel and Tourism issues as well as assist in tourism growth in our state

Visakhapatnam Tourism Board

Since Vizag is the City where we get the highest number of tourist it would be a good Option to start a tourism board.

An aggressive Marketing & Promotional plan Promotions

Extensive domestic tourism promotions should be taken up by the state tourism department post Covid-19 to promote our State and bring in more footfalls. An aggressive marketing plan in Advertisements in Newspaper, Digital Media, Regional TV with an attractive film and conveying the subtle message of “Andhra Pradesh is eagerly waiting for you“, “Tourism in Andhra Pradesh is ready with all safety and hygiene”, etc. Aggressive Social Media campaigns thru different channels like Face book, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter in other states which shall assist in the revival of Domestic tourism coming into Andhra Pradesh.

APTA & APTDC

APTA should be more focussed and special funds should be allotted to APTA to brand AP and make AP the biggest inbound destination. APTDC should act as a facilitator and not a competitor to the Pvt sector and should give out its facilities to private operators in rent/revenue share model and APTDC needs to invest in infrastructure development like Jetty, power, access, etc. (The same model is followed in most of the states like Odisha, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka etc). We also request approval of 20% TAC for all bookings at APTDC hotels for Andhra Travel Agents.

To start a Tourist Police station

Since the state government has planned to bring in a lot of investment into Vizag it will also be very important to create confidence for foreign and Indian Tourist.

Upgrade Boats for sea rides

Every traveler who comes to Vizag will always want to do a boat rie into the sea. The government has to invest into buying big sized boats for sea rides as this would change the very dimension of tourism in Vizag.

Hop On and Hop off Bus

We need to start the Hop on and Hop Off bus at Visakhapatnam and immediate permissions should be given for the same, as we have an operator who is interested to start the same.

International Trade Shows & Payments not made

From 2014 to 2019 we participated in ITB, WTM, FUTUR, JATA, MITT and many trade shows abroad and in India,we request the Government to restart the same and also would like to point out that the we had not been reimbursed an amount of Rupees One lakh for the 2018 & 2019 participation at ITB Berlin and request your good office to direct for the release of the same in the hardest time we are facing.

Quota for TTD darshan Tickets

We request the government to kindly allocate 200 darshan tickets everyday to our Association from the APTDC Quota as we have members in our association who are members in the national associations like ADTOI, TAAI, PATA, NIMA, ABTO

TAG LINE INDIA’S BEST KEPT SECRET – ANDHRA PRADESH

In the year 2014 we the travel agents had recommended a new tag line INDIA’S BEST KEPT SECRET – ANDHRA PRADESH and was being used by us from 2014 in all International travel marts like ITB, WTM and all Indian Travel marts and Road Shows, and last year we found that the Orissa Tourism has also started to use the same line and we request your good office to direct the Tourism department to take up this matter with the Orissa Government and do the required. Sir, we request you to kindly bail out our travel fraternity as the travel segment is throttled and turned upside Down the travel Industry and the cascading effect of the virus has crippled the industry for the past 17 months and we have never seen a meltdown of this kind.

Thanking you

With Regards

For Tours and Travel Association of Andhra

K. Vijay Mohan

President

Also Endorsed by

Chairman Association of Domestic Tour operators of India, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana Chapter – K.Vijay Mohan
Network of Indian Mice Agents South India – K Vijay Mohan
International Coordinator – Association of Buddhist Tour Operators – K.Vijay Mohan
National Coordinator Federation of regional Travel Associations – K.Vijay Mohan
Chairman Network of Indian Mice Agents Andhra Pradesh Chapter, Vice President TTAA – Dheeraj Prahraj
Secretary Tours and Travels Association of Andhra, Treasurer TAAI AP & Telangana Chapter – Srinivas Kumar

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