TAAK seeks Kashmir-specific package for travel sector
Post by on Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Srinagar, June 29: Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) Tuesday sought a Kashmir-specific package for travel sector stating that financial support announced by
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman would not be beneficial to most of them.
In a statement, TAAK president Farooq Kuthoo said most of the travel and tour organisers in Kashmir are not registered with the Ministry of Tourism and “the registration process is also cumbersome.”
“The package will not be beneficial for most of the travel agents based in Kashmir as only few of them are registered with the Union Ministry of Tourism.
“The financial support package should be extended to all travel agents who are also registered with their respective state or UT governments,” said Kuthoo.
He added that the Government of India should also announce a special package for the tourism industry based in Jammu and Kashmir which has been the worst hit in the country.
Kuthoo said the travel industry in Jammu and Kashmir has been affected badly not only by Covid-19 pandemic but also due to successive lockdowns.
“We welcome the central government’s consideration for the tourism sector but it is too little and for a minuscule number of registered tour operators. The travel agents from Kashmir were never compensated so far. This scheme has to be revised to incorporate all stakeholders especially from Kashmir division,” said TAAK president.
TAAK also reiterated its demand of GST amnesty and said the registration process with MoT should also be made quick and hassle-free.
Notably, the Finance Minister announced that the government would provide free visas to 5 lakh tourists visiting India.
Sitharaman said financial support would be provided to more than 11,000 registered tourist guides, travel and tourism stakeholders recognised by the Ministry of Tourism.
She also announced working capital or personal loans to people in the tourism sector to discharge liabilities or restart businesses impacted due to Covid-19.
Loans will be provided with 100 percent guarantee with a limit of Rs 10 lakh for travel and tourism stakeholders and Rs 1 lakh for registered tourist guides.
TAAK said working capital or personal loans are only an additional burden unless the government supports the stakeholders with huge incentives and concessions in the interest amount.