Kochi: State tourism ministers attending a conclave here on Monday demanded reduction, simplification and rationalisation of various taxes and levies, including Goods and Services Tax (GST), in the hospitality industry to attract visitors and cushion stiff global competition.
In a resolution, they expressed their concern at 28 per cent GST on hotel room tariff over Rs 7,500 and 18 per cent with tariffs between Rs 2,500 and Rs 7,500.
This tax rate is high compared to other countries, they felt.
The resolution, moved by Karnataka tourism minister C. T. Ravi, said a tax cut is essential to attract more tourists and sought measures to reduce high airfares which posed tough competition.
“We express concern over the high airfares during peak season and festival periods, which are forcing holidaymakers to opt for economical destinations,” it said.
“Besides, the unexpected closure of certain airlines/carriers has led to increased airfares while minimal air connectivity with 2-tier and 3-tier cities has only compounded the problem.”
The conclave also took note of the high and varied inter-state tourist vehicle taxes and called for its rationalisation to ensure seamless travel.
In another resolution, the conclave proposed the formation of regional tourism councils and developing tourism circuits, which can be region-based and in neighbouring states.
“We resolve to jointly promote our tourist attractions across the world to give a cutting edge to our campaigns,” it said.
The resolution, moved by Odisha tourism minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, said setting up regional tourism councils will facilitate periodic interaction among different states and enhance collaboration. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the one-day conclave in the seaside getaway of Kovalam. Union minister of state for tourism and culture Prahlad Singh Patel was the chief guest. Kerala tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran presided over the function.