Tourism industry gives GST Bill cautious welcome

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Mumbai | Published: May 7, 2015 1:50:49 AM

IATO members are positive that the regime will help them set off service tax

The tourism industry, which had pinned its hopes on the Modi government to put forth a definitive timeline for the nationwide rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), has been upset that the Union Budget 2015 gave it a miss.

The recent news of the Lok Sabha passing the GST Bill has come as a pleasant announcement, but with a bit of caution.

Members of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) are positive 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 taxed rather heavily.

The industry was expecting an announcement during the past fiscal, but is glad to receive an announcement in early 2015.  Rajeev Kohli, vice-president, IATO and director, Creative Travel, feels this will work well for the economy, but he also sounds a word of caution. Kohli says, “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 their GDP. Specifically for 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)

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