State Tourism Ministers who met in the Kerala capital on Monday demanded the reduction, simplification and rationalisation of various taxes and levies, including the Goods and Services Tax (GST), in the tourism and travel industry to attract tourists and face global competition.
At the end of meeting here, a resolution moved by Karnataka Tourism Minister CT Ravi, said the reduction in GST on hotel rooms is essential to attract more tourists.
The resolution also sought measures to reduce high airfares which worsen the tough competition faced from other global destinations.
"The Tourism Ministers' conclave 2019 at Kovalam, Kerala, notes with concern that the GST Council of India has imposed 28 per cent GST 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 is high compared with other countries," said the resolution adopted unanimously.
"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 has led to increased airfares, while minimal air connectivity with 2-tier and 3-tier cities has only compounded the problem," it noted.
Another resolution moved by the Odisha Tourism Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi said setting up Regional Tourism Councils will facilitate periodic interaction among different states and enhance collaboration.
"We resolve to jointly promote our tourist attractions across the world in order to give a cutting edge to our campaigns," said the second resolution.
The meeting also expressed concern over the high and varied inter-state tourist vehicle taxes and called for their rationalisation across all the states to ensure seamless travel experience.