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Govt plans sops for industries servicing foreign tourists.

Date: 11-08-2017
Subject: Govt plans sops for industries servicing foreign tourists
The government aims to roll out the red carpet for the industries servicing foreign tourists by giving such sops as “zero-rate GST” and even reimbursement of certain taxes to tour operators engaged in servicing foreigners. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has sought comments from relevant ministries to draw up “Action Plan for Champion Sectors in Service” to be finally approved by the Cabinet. One of the focus areas is the meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions (MICE) sector, which is fast growing yet nascent in India. The draft Cabinet note proposes to bring Indian players engaged in this industry under a “zero-rate GST” regime if the payments are in foreign exchange, to boost exports. It also proposes to reimburse certain local taxes to bulk tour operators of foreign tourists, so that the benefits can be passed on to the tourists eventually. In an estimated business of $300 billion in the MICE economy in the world, India occupies only 1.2 per cent of the global convention business and is ranked 25th in delegate attendance, according to government estimates.

To make the experience of foreign tourists in India more seamless and in line with global standards, the government also proposes to integrate certain local taxes levied on foreign tourists across India, as per the draft Cabinet note. Since the development of the country’s transport ecosystem is key to the overall experience of foreign tourists in India, the draft note proposes radical changes like restricting access to railway platforms only to bona fide passengers and charging higher fees for non-passengers like in airports. The proposal calls for linking all World heritage sites and ASI sites with railway connectivity. It envisages world-class lounges for foreign tourists across all major railway stations as well.

Source: indianexpress.com

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