The Country wide Lockdown due to COVID- 19 just before the summer season is a big dent for the tourism industry of Himachal Pradesh which is totally dependent on seasonal business. Therefore the state government should consider a relief package for this sector like water, Electricity, Property tax, Garbage Collection etc charges on domestic tariffs, demanded Mohinder Seth President of the Tourism Industry Stakeholders Association. Also waiver of Demand Charges by HPSEBL and 30% sewerage Cess charged on water bills should also be given to the struggling hospitality industry of the state.
He said that the Sustainability of Tourism Units – hotels, Travel agents, Restaurants, taxi operators and all other tourism units completely depends on the oncoming summer season but in wake of the current situation 100 % bookings for the same have been cancelled. The tourism industry is worried about how to meet the fixed expenditures of their units. He said Shimla tourism industry which was already reeling under problems since the past 2 years, has no respite. “ In 2018, business here witnessed a dipped due to water issues, in 2019 it was Lok Sabha polls in April-May, then the ongoing four lanning at NH22 caused downfall, he added.
He said that due to such reasons the hotel Industry could not balance the fixed /operational cost of their units since the last two years and thus they had to fill the gap of operational costs either by raising loans or by liquidating their deposits. More than 95 % tourism units in the state are small and medium enterprise, he added. “These units hardly have any surplus cash reserve to meet salary of staff, pay huge electricity, water bill’s, taxes , AMC, bank interest, rent, insurances and repair & maintenance of their tourism units in the present situation.” Considering such facts the Government must help the tourism sector with liberal new Working Capital limits , Term loans and enhancement of existing limits. These limits should be given at a nominal rate of interest with a complete moratorium of 12 to 18 months without any collateral security in the interest of tourism industry at large, demanded Seth.