Assam Tour Operators demand “Immediate Relief”

Guwahati: As the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the tourism industry in the state with one of the worst ways, the Tour Association of Assam on Sunday urged the government to provide the tour operators with relief so that they can restart and survive their businesses.

The tour operators demanded a one-time relief as an immediate relief along with that, they further asked for auto-renewal of their licenses, permit fees, taxes, and removal of any penalties. They also urged the government to wave off fixed electricity charges. In a statement, they claimed that they had hoped for certain packages related to the tour operators in the Budget of the Assam Government, but none of their requests were seen in the budget.

The Association in their statement said, “Tourism was the fastest growing industry in the world before the COVID-19 pandemic. It was seen as the highest employer and one of the largest contributors to the GDP of any given country just after retail and finance.”

“But after the pandemic, it is the most affected industry which went to a standstill in the first and is expected to start over in the last. Tourism in Assam is a no different story. In fact, tourism here was affected a little earlier by the CAA protest in December 2019. Since then, the tourism industry in Assam has been struggling to revive but with the first phase of COVID-19, and now with the more devastating second phase, tourism in Assam is unlikely to even survive unless there are some relief measures taken by the government to support the industry”, they added.

The Association also claimed that the tour operators of Assam had been instrumental in the development of Tourism in Assam. “We have spent time, energy, money, and patience in bringing tourism to the present status and in placing Assam in the Global Tourism Map. We had been able to generate an estimated revenue of Rs 3000 crore in the FY 2019-20 but now with no support from the government in the difficult times would mean a total decimation of the Tour Operators and Tourism Industry of Assam”, they added.

They further explained that today with no business and no income they have lost most of their savings.
They also stated that they were unable to save their offices and vehicles from being pulled off. They also claimed that since they were unable to back the loans their credit scores were “greatly affected”.
They added, “We are still fighting with the only hope that the government will look at us and provide us with some reliefs.”

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