Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has made a strong pitch for reduction in Goods and Service Tax (GST) rates on hotel rooms, elimination of disparity in inter-state taxes on tourism vehicles and introduction of affordable airfares to expedite growth of tourism in the country.
Inaugurating the State Tourism Ministers’ Conclave 2019 at Kovalam, he said though tourism in the country has high growth potential, removal of impediments like high tax rates is essential to consolidate India’s position as a prime global destination. “Tourism industry is faced with some serious challenges. These include high tax rates, lack of sufficient air connectivity and disparity in inter-state taxes. There is also an urgent need to rationalise taxes across all states and establish a mechanism to address the frequent hike in airfares,” he said.
Vijayan also emphasised the need to introduce affordable airfares to cushion stiff international competition and standardisation of service parameters to ensure high quality of services in the hospitality sector.
Noting that India with its immense diversity has tremendous tourism potential, he said it is important to have periodic exchange of ideas and interactions among states to address challenges impeding the growth of tourism in the country. “Development of tourism in any part of the country helps the entire country. Therefore, we need to work together. We need to improve best practices,” the chief minister added.