‘Scrap service tax, spend on infra’

Published - February 28, 2015 09:33 am IST - CHENNAI:

Do away with service tax and invest in infrastructure – these are two key expectations the travel and tourism sector has from the Union Budget 2015.

“Removing service tax would go a long way towards giving the travel industry a boost. It is a huge burden on travel agents and the tourism industry as a whole,” said V.K.T. Balan, chairman, Travel Agents Association of India, Southern Region.

R. Srinivasan of the Tamil Nadu Hotels Association said, "Already we are paying VAT. Service tax amounts to double taxation," he said. 

Members of the South India Hotels and Restaurants Association hope that the Centre will accord infrastructure status to hotels with a project cost of Rs. 50 crore. It is presently Rs. 200 crore. This move will bring in more hotels, explained a source in the Association adding that uniform norms must be introduced throughout the country for pollution clearances.

Standardisation of taxes across State borders would help simplify the tax structure, and notifying aviation turbine fuel as a ‘declared good’ would bring much relief to the aviation industry and the travelling public, said Madhavan Menon, managing director, Thomas Cook India in a statement.

Building infrastructure and a focus on sanitisation are other areas that the industry hopes the Budget will look into. “We are hoping for infrastructural improvement in smaller towns and cities that house key tourism destinations and also hoping this budget will set aside a pool of funds for better connectivity with new airports and improved roads,” said Sharat Dhall, president, Yatra.com

There should also be an allocation of funds and concrete timelines to ensure the safety of women, said Mr. Menon, adding that focused marketing programmes too, were needed.

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