On 8th May 2020, M Vinod, State Vice-President, Bharatiya Janata Party, Andaman & Nicobar Islands wrote a letter to Prime Minister of India with subject to the Relief measures for Andaman tourism.
Mananiya Shri. Narendra Modi ji
Hon’ble Prime Minister
Govt. of India
Mananiya Shri Pralhad Singh Patel
Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, Art & Culture
New Delhi, India
Mananiya Shri B L Santhosh ji,
BJP National General Secretary (org) &
Prabhari-A & N Islands
Mananiya Shri Tarun Chugh Ji
National Secretary – BJP &
Prabhari-A & N Islands
Copy also forwarded to :
The Hon’ble Lt. Governor, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Port Blair
The Chief Secretary, Andaman & Nicobar Administration, A & N Islands
Sub: Relief measures for Andaman tourism - reg
On behalf of all islanders, I express our heartfelt gratitude to you sir as under your inspiring leadership, our country has timely and largely successfully managed to contain the Coronavirus pandemic to a great magnitude. We islanders are proud to have you as our Prime Minister at this hour of crisis and we look forward to you showing us the way in the future as well.
Sir, I on behalf of all tourism stakeholders, I write this letter to apprise your honor of the unprecedented hardship the tourism industry stakeholders face in light of this grim disease. Tourism is the single largest industry of the UT of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and nearly 80% of the population are directly or indirectly dependent on tourism for their livelihood. The individuals range from the employees engaged as tour guides and tour coordinators (500 approx.), tourist cab drivers (6000 approx.), boat drivers and crew (2000 approx.), hotel staff (15,000 approx.), travel agency office staff (4000 approx.), adventure water sports instructors and associated staff (700 approx.), bed and breakfast/homestay staff (200 approx.) to employers such as hoteliers, restaurateurs, travel agents, tour operators, boat owners, cruise owners, adventure water sports owners, tourist cab owners. Each and every one of the aforementioned form an interconnected and interdependent ecosystem that constitutes the brand of Andaman tourism. Tragically, all of them have fallen to the ground damaged and stare at either a complete shutdown of business or little to no future for another 12 months at least.
Therefore, as a responsible islander and a humble representative of tourism stakeholders, I hereby put forth a list of relief and revival measures that our industry is in dire need of:
1. A fiscal relief package for Andaman tourism stakeholders that helps cover the remuneration of the employees for the next 6 months provides for basic financial support to prevent businesses from collapsing and helps keep them afloat until the travelling climate becomes favorable.
2. A complete exemption on GST for tourism including hotels, restaurants, tour packages, adventure water sports, cruises, boats for the next 12 months.
3. A moratorium for the next 12 months be granted to all term loans/ODs lent to tourism businesses and the interest be waived off as well for the next 12 months. Subsequent to this, the interest rates on all existing loans lent to such tourism businesses be slashed to half the levied rate to enable them to weather the crisis.
4. Auto renewal of all statutory licenses/permits/registrations of all tourism establishments/vehicles/boats etc. till 30th April 2021.
5. A complete waive off of all rents (from municipal, panchayats etc.), taxes (including property tax, road tax etc.), bills (such as electricity, water, telephone) and charges (such as port charges) be waived off for a period of 1 year for all tourism establishments.
6. Auto renewal of license/certificates for all individuals employed by tourism establishments (such as boat operators, crew, instructors, diving instructors etc.) or self-employed (such as snorkeling guides etc.) as technical human resource until 30th April 2021.
7. Extension of A&N Islands Infrastructure Subsidy Scheme for MSMEs 2017 for another two years till 31st March 2022. All pending applications of subsidy be processed on fast track mode and the rightful subsidy be granted to all such MSMEs.
8. Relaxation of all possible statutory and regulatory compliance for all segments of the tourism industry for a period of 2 years to create an atmosphere of revival and enable businesses to restructure themselves.
9. Interest and collateral free loans be given to tourism establishments to ensure sufficient working capital and liquidity to survive by government as well as private banks.
10. A UT Tourism Revival Committee be set up comprising members of relevant departments and stakeholders that formulates a plan to boost Andaman tourism in all aspects for the coming 5 years and bring it to an unprecedented momentum.
11. LTC be granted to government servants for travelling to Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
12. 100% tax rebate be granted to all citizens of the country for travelling to Andaman and Nicobar Islands for the next 5 years.
13. Extensive advertising campaign be carried out for Andamans across all mediums including TV, Internet, print etc.
14. Opening of new Islands such as Cinque Islands and other islands that are in proximity to Port Blair.
15. Measures on priority to encourage all flights to make multiple trips to Port Blair from all major cities such as Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Ahmedabad etc.
16. Special impetus be given to commence trade and tourism with South East Asian countries that lie in the vicinity of Andaman & Nicobar Islands such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand etc.
17. Initiative to commence Air India charter flights between Port Blair and Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok at least twice a week.
18. A joint effort between Andaman’s, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia to examine and revive tourism.
The above relief measures are to ensure survival as well as to create a favorable travelling atmosphere when the time is right. We had not even recovered completely from a devastating event such as 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami that we have been hit by yet another crisis that has left the islanders completely helpless.
Therefore, it is my humble request to your honorable office that the plight of the worst hit industry in perhaps the worst crisis in a century be empathized with and we are granted relief at the earliest to prevent loss of livelihood.
Bharatiya Janata Party
Andaman & Nicobar Islands