Indian Chamber of Commerce seeks travel & tourism fund

The coronavirus crisis can result in 18-20% erosion of nationwide occupancy across the hospitality sector, Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has said. The cascading effect of the global coronavirus pandemic is crippling the country’s tourism and hospitality industry at an “astonishing pace”, the industry body noted.

Hence, the ICC has recommended setting up of a ‘Travel & Tourism Stabilisation Fund’ with direct benefit transfer to each unit to prevent financial loss and consequent job loss.

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA) has come down by about 67% annually in the January-March quarter, while for domestic tourists, the figure is lower by nearly 40%, according to statistics published by the tourism ministry, the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) said.

“There will be a 12-14% drop in average daily rates (ADRs) for the entire 2020,” ICC Director General Rajeev Singh said.

The travel and tourism sector alone accounted for 9.2 per cent of India’s GDP in 2018, and generated 26.7 million jobs in that year, the ICC said in a statement. Most of the tourism companies afflicted by the pandemic are now anxiously looking for interim relief to pay EMIs, taxes and salaries to employees for at least six months,” Singh said.

The industry body also recommended a host of initiatives for the central government, including extending the RBI’s three-month moratorium on repayment of term loans to six months and a complete GST holiday for the tourism, travel and hospitality industry for the next 12 months.