The tourism industry was pinning hopes on the Modi Government to put forth a definitive timeline for a nationwide roll out Goods and Services Tax (GST) and were upset that the Union Budget 2015 gave it a miss. The recent news of the Lok Sabha passing the goods and service tax (GST) Bill has come across as a pleasant announcement, but with a bit of caution as well. The members of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) are positive that the tax regime will help them set off the service tax giving a significant boost to the tourism industry, but are hoping that the industry will be not be put in the luxury bracket and be taxed rather heavily.They were expecting some announcement during the financial year but are glad to receive an announcement in the early part of 2015.
Rajeev Kohli, Vice president, IATO and director, Creative Travel, felt that this will work well for the economy but also sounded a word of caution. Said Kohli, “Tax reform is critical to taking our economy forward. I only hope tourism does not get treated as a luxury and taxed too heavily.” Speaking on this move, in an exclusive with Express TravelWorld, Rajeev Wagle, MD, Kuoni India said, “It is a very good step that the government has taken. I hope it gets passed in the Rajya Sabha as smoothly. All those countries that have adapted GST have grown in their GDP. Specifically to the travel industry, we need to be a little clear as how it will work out. I think all industries should benefit from this announcement. However it should be clear of bureaucratic bottlenecks.”
(with inputs from Akshay Kumar)