Biji Eapen, National President of the IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI) has urged the Prime Minister to offer immediate bailout (economic relief package) for the travel and sector without en masse job losses will deal a death blow to the industry businesses.
According to IAAI, the Indian travel and tourism sector faces an economic meltdown from which it will struggle to recover and nose-dive millions of people dependent upon it for their livelihoods into debt. The ‘domino effect’ will also result in massive job losses across the entire supply chain, hitting employees, and those in self-employment. According to the latest news reports, Panama City-based Bookit.com has become the first OTA casualty and Air Deccan, the first closure in the Indian aviation sector, since COVID-19 shutdown.
IAAI flagged the subject with the Government of India by submitting an Appeal on behalf of the industry stakeholders, to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with a request to aid the sector which is the backbone of Indian economy, by way of assigning resources and coordinated efforts to rescue major businesses such as Travel Agents, Tour Operators, GDS, and Technology Companies, Travel & Tourism Training Institutes; Tourist Guides and entire supply chain to save the jobs of millions of people and their families who depend on the sector for their livelihoods.
In order to overcome and sustain the present economic catastrophe caused by the pandemic, IAAI National Director Board requested the below recommendations and not limited to:
- Protection of the Salaries, Incomes, and Jobs of the millions of Employees and benefits for the Self-Employed, who are at risk.
- Extend vital, interest-free loans (Economic Stabilization Loans) as Business/Working Capital Loans and Cash Credit / Overdraft with Nil / Reduced collateral requirements, to provide liquidity for large and small Travel & Tourism businesses, enabling them to quickly make their way to resume business, to prevent from financial breakdown.
- Moratorium on Interest payments of all existing Business / Working Capital Loans and Cash Credit / Overdraft for the next 12 months.
- Waive or remove all dues, taxes, or fiscal charges of Travel & Tourism Businesses for the next 12 months that affect cash flow, which can be critical to business’s survival.
- Reduction in Electricity Charges of Travel & Tourism Businesses, for the next 12 months.
Since the Government of India is likely to introduce further Stimulation Package for the Indian Economy after the Lockdown, IAAI National Director Board gathered to review the situation. It confirmed that it would continue to advocate for its members along with the entirety of the industry by beginning a nationwide email signature campaign to mobilize backing from the entrepreneurs, employees, and self-employed stakeholders for the proposed follow-up Appeal to the Hon. Prime Minister of India on the demands submitted by IAAI, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve.
IAAI National Director Board, further invited the Entrepreneurs, Employees & Self Employed stakeholders of Travel & Tourism Businesses in India, to participate and support the Email Signature Campaign for a follow-up Appeal to the Hon. Prime Minister of India, by signing the proposed Appeal (available on iaai.in) and accomplish the maximum number of Email signatures from colleagues and fellow members the sector to prevent the loss of jobs.
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