Tourism minister Prahlad Patel says massive losses of revenue in tourism sector

by Times of India

NEW DELHI: Culture and Tourism minister Prahlad Patel told Parliament on Monday that though no formal study was conducted to assess the impact of coronavirus on the tourism sector, discussions with stakeholders point to massive losses in revenue.

Responding to written questions, Patel acknowledged that a large chunk of the tourism sector remains in the unorganised category and that a clearer picture is only likely to emerge in due course.

“No formal study has been instituted for assessment of the impact on the tourism sector and job losses. However, several rounds of discussions and brainstorming sessions with industry stakeholders indicate massive loss of revenue, foreign exchange and jobs…. In view of the highly unorganised nature of the sector, the impact in numerical terms can only be ascertained in due course,” Patel said.

The minister, however, said the government announced several stimulus packages for the sector, including extended moratorium from RBI on term loans till August 31, the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat package’ of Rs 3 lakh crore, and easy PF withdrawals.

The central government, he said, had also rolled out relief from regulatory compliances under the Income Tax Act, Companies Act and the GST Act for different time frames in order to help with business continuity and survival.

Patel, however, said, his ministry did not receive any proposal from states to increase allocation of funds for development and promotion of tourism in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Responding to a separate question, Patel said the government has formed an expert committee for conducting a study on the origin and evolution of Indian culture dating back to around 12,000 years ago. Patel said the 16-member committee will comprise KN Dikshit, Chairman, Indian Archaeological Society, New Delhi and former Joint Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, among others.

“A committee has been set up for conducting a holistic study of origin and evolution of Indian culture since 12,000 years before present and its interface with other cultures of the world,” the Union minister of State for Tourism and Culture said.

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