-CB Edit Desk
The Hotel Association of India (HAI), the apex body for hotels, has appealed to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for immediate intervention to provide relief to the hospitality industry which is on the verge of collapse, HAI said in a statement on Wednesday, as reported by Business Standard.
The lobby has sought intervention in five key areas. These include a one-time settlement of loans and extension of loan moratoriums till September 2021 and waiver of all statutory liabilities at Centre, State and municipal levels for the pandemic period.
The increasing loan burden at a time of almost non-existent income may serve only to increase the NPAs of Banks and Moratorium will provide a breathing space to the already crippling industry, said the association. “Hospitality industry remains one of the most impacted sectors in the country and continues to struggle due to Covid restrictions and absence of financial reliefs from the government.”
It has also appealed for a stimulus package that subsidizes the salaries of hotel employees by 50 per cent from April 2021-March 2022 as is being done by many countries as a part of their economic recovery programmes.
HAI has also demanded that the hospitality industry be accorded an ‘Infrastructure Status’ and be brought to the concurrent list of the Constitution. HAI in its letter has highlighted that more than 40 per cent of hotels have either shut or are on the brink of closure and 70 per cent of overall jobs are now in danger directly or indirectly.
This will enable the industry to access long term funds at subsidized rates as available to other infrastructure industries like ports, highways, airports, railways etc. HAI also added that Infrastructure status will encourage greater investments in tourism infrastructure around the country, create income, and have a ripple effect on demand and will therefore help economic recovery of the country.
At present, the relief, incentives, and other promotional support to industries differ from state to state. For harmonious growth of the industry, there is a need for greater and closer coordination across the country. Featuring Tourism & Hospitality in the concurrent list of the Constitution will facilitate a stronger coordinating role for the Ministry of Tourism, HAI added.
The Industry body also recommended forming a consultative mechanism like a task Force of the government and industry representatives which will help in pragmatic policy formulation and bring the true spirit of Public-Private Partnership.
Reiterating its earlier demand HAI has requested waiver of all statutory liabilities at Centre, State, and Municipal levels for the pandemic period especially during the lockdown period on grounds of natural justice. Even with zero revenue and resources, many of the hospitality establishments continue to pay the staff on humanitarian grounds which is now unbearable for the industry, claimed HAI.
Lauding the Government’s effort to promote domestic tourism the industry body also stressed on the fact that expansion of domestic tourism will require creation of suitable accommodation to meet the incremental demand. The hospitality sector is a provider of key tourism infrastructure serving the basic need of accommodation of travelers of any kind.
The potential shock to the livelihood of millions working in the hospitality industry is enormous. The Indian hospitality sector has a critical role to play in the post pandemic economic revival and has been announced as the fourth pillar of the Indian economy.
HAI has sought the PM’s intervention and directions for implementation of the suggestions to save the Industry jobs and the lives and livelihoods of the citizens employed in hotels and to enable the industry to get on its feet so that it can make its contribution to the national economy added HAI.