Piyush Goyal wants Indian hospitality sector to become Atma Nirbhar; slams luxury hotel industry for not being able to stand on its own feet

Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday said the government will help the travel and tourism industry only if they give recommendations regarding tackling the coronavirus situation. The minister advised the sector to help the Centre in achieving its objective of creating an Atma Nirbhar Bharat, even as the sector is struggling to keep itself alive in the wake of the global pandemic.

Before the industry representatives attending the webinar realised what hit them, the minister fired the next salvo.

He slammed the industry for its “bad practices” and “wrong doings”, asking it to look within. The officials of the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), who organised the webinar, may not have expected the barrage of accusations but the minister was not done yet.

Highlighting the ‘wrongs’ in the industry, he said hotels deduct 10% value of the foreign currency when foreign customers pay them in the hotels. He was categorical that the Indian hospitality sector will have to wait for a long time to return to normalcy as the government does not intend to fully open the roads until the coronavirus pandemic is contained.

On recommendations to provide relief for 5-star hotels, the minister said that it will be counter-productive if even the luxury hotels cannot stand on their own feet. He said the industry should aim for measures that would invite less intervention of the government.

However, at the end, Goyal said the industry should not lose confidence and find a way out of the ongoing crisis. He said he would consider discussing some financial relief for the industry with the Finance Ministry.

The Indian hospitality industry is going through its biggest ever crisis, after the coronavirus pandemic devastated its business model. The Rs 20 lakh crore financial relief package announced by the Indian government had nothing in it for the sector. Over the last few months, thousands of employees have lost jobs as revenues had a free fall.