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Tourism Ministers’ conclave demands reduction in hotel rooms GST

The conclave also took note of the high and varied inter-state tourist vehicle taxes and called for its rationalization across all states to ensure seamless travel. Tourism Ministers from different states on Monday made a strong pitch for reduction, simplification and rationalisation of various taxes and levies, including GST, in the tourism and travel industry to attract tourists and cushion stiff global competition. The conclave, in a unanimous resolution, expressed concern over the GST Council of India imposing 28 per cent Goods and Services Tax on hotel room tariff over Rs 7,500 and 18 per cent tax on rooms with tariffs between Rs 2,500 and Rs 7,500.

This tax rate was high compared with other countries, it stated. The resolution, moved by Karnataka Tourism Minister C T Ravi said reduction in GST in hotel rooms was essential to attract more tourists. It also sought measures to reduce high airfares which posed tough competition from other global destinations. “We express concern over the high airfares during peak season and festival periods, which are forcing holiday-makers to opt for economical destinations. Besides, unexpected closure of certain airlines or carriers has led to increased airfares while minimal air connectivity with 2-Tier and 3-Tier cities has only compounded the problem,” it stated.

The conclave also took note of the high and varied inter-state tourist vehicle taxes and called for its rationalisation across all states to ensure seamless travel. In another resolution, the conclave proposed formation of Regional Tourism Councils and developing tourism circuits, which can be region-based and in neighbouring states. “We resolve to jointly promote our tourist attractions across the world in order to give a cutting edge to our campaigns,” it said.

The resolution, moved by Odisha Tourism Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, said setting up Regional Tourism Councils will facilitate periodic interaction among different states and enhance collaboration. The one-day conclave was inaugurated by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Prahlad Singh Patel was the chief guest. Kerala Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran presided.