Hospitality and tourism industry wants MSME status for guest-houses, interest-free loans

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 20, 2020

Small Medium Enterprises (SME) or Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSME) status for guest houses, interest-free loans, waiver of fixed charges and 50 per cent subsidy in electricity bills for the next six months are some of the sops sought by the tourism and hotels industry from the government.

Sandeep Khandelwal, President, Delhi Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association, in a letter written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said the hotel and tourism business is the most vulnerable and devastated industry right now. It will require maximum support from the government. Some relief measures can be given by granting SME or MSME status to guest houses and allowing them (guest houses) to retain 25 per cent of GST payable for the next 12 months. Waiver of fixed charges and electricity bills must be subsidised by 50 per cent for the next six months.

“Most of the guest houses are owned by middle class families who run this for their livelihood. Request you to save our industry so that the families depending on the businesses and the families of staff can survive, Khandelwal said in the letter

Industry experts said the tourism and hospitality sector is among the first sector to be badly hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic and will be the last one to revive.

“We will request the government to provide interest free loans to us for some period. The industry is struggling a lot during this phase with reduction in salaries and some companies shutting down their businesses,” said Pronab Sarkar, President, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO).

According to some industry insiders, around 10 per cent of all the jobs in the country comes from the sector.

“So far, no relief measure has been announced for the sector and anything delayed is denied. However, I am hopeful that in the days to come the government will at least give some assurance so that the situation doesn’t get worse for the industry,” said Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, President, Hotel and Restaurant Association Western India.

Industry insiders said they were a bit surprised with no mention of the sector in the Covid-19 relief package, so far.

“In the long run, there is a need to make certain changes at the policy-making level to help the sector. This can include low lending rates, changes in the existing land laws in order to make this sector attractive for investors,” said JB Singh, President and CEO, InterGlobe Hotels.

Published on May 20, 2020

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