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Travel industry seeks tax breaks, incentives to survive. Can India save 40 million jobs?

Indian small tour operators and travel agencies are massive employment generators, but most won’t survive the pandemic. They are lobbying for scrapping the steep travel tax on overseas tours and a tweak in the GST framework to stay in business. The travel and tourism industry may lose about 40 million jobs and post a INR1.25 lakh crore loss in 2020 alone.
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5 May 2020 8 Mins Read 3 comments
A deserted travel and money-exchange agency office in Kolkata Getty Images
A deserted travel and money-exchange agency office in Kolkata
Manoj Khanna began his travel company, Khanna Travels and Holidays, over a decade ago in Navi Mumbai. From a single-man operation, it has grown to 25 employees. But now the future looks bleak to Khanna. “Tourism and travel was the first sector to shut down and it will be the last to open,” he says. “It’ll be tough to survive
towards the poor and needy. A compassionate package, clearly, can be a lifeline for millions of small tour operators and travel agencies, and help keep the economy on its feet. The government should realise that many a time even well-intended policy measures can lead to unintended consequences. The 5% tax on overseas tour packages is one such retrograde step.
Manoj Khanna began his travel company, Khanna Travels and Holidays, over a decade ago in Navi Mumbai. From a single-man operation, it has grown to 25 employees. But now the future looks bleak to Khanna. “Tourism and travel was the first sector to shut down and it will be the last to open,” he says. “It’ll be tough to survive towards the poor and needy. A compassionate package, clearly, can be a lifeline for millions of small tour operators and travel agencies, and help keep the economy on its feet. The government should realise that many a time even well-intended policy measures can lead to unintended consequences. The 5% tax on overseas tour packages is one such retrograde step.

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