Earlier today, the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) held an online meeting with Piyush Goyal, minister – Commerce & Industry and Railways, Government of India to share and discuss key impending issues of the hospitality industry.
Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, VP, FHRAI & president, HRAWI; Pradeep Shetty, jt. hon. secretary, FHRAI & VP, HRAWI; Vivek Nair, member of honor, HRAWI; Surendra Kumar Jaiswal, VP, FHRAI; DVS Somaraju, hon. treasurer, FHRAI; Nirav Gandhi, EC Member, FHRAI and S P Jain, ex-officio member, HRAWI participated in the meeting and put forth concerns to the minister.
The members highlighted issues related to Ease of Doing Business (EoDB), Copyrights, Service Export of India Scheme (SEIS) and other pertinent concerns faced by the hospitality industry. Goyal was apprised about the tremendous setback and consequently the loss suffered by the industry over the last four months. The Association informed him that the industry is already staring at a whopping Rs1.40 lakh crore loss which is increasing if the government does not urgently intervene and rescue the sector.
“At a time when we need the Government’s support the most, the Hospitality and Tourism industry which contributes 10 per cent of the GDP has largely been ignored. The industry has not received any kind of stimulus or support throughout this phase of the lockdown. Hospitality deals with most perishable commodities like room inventory and restaurant table bookings which once lost is irreplaceable and which is why the service sector cannot be measured with the same yardstick as the manufacturing sector. At present, we are in dire need of working capital to survive and then only can we revive. Across the country, approximately 50,000 rooms have been allocated for the health care workers and 4000 of our member hotels have joined hands with the State and Central authorities for letting their hotels as quarantine facilities. Restaurants too have been doing their bit by distributing food packets to the needy. The 1.10-hour interaction was most fruitful and we thank the Hon. Minister for this meeting and his suggestions. As suggested, FHRAI will be presenting a document of issues and their probable solutions to the Hon. Minister for his perusal,” said Kohli.
Goyal, on behalf of the Union Government acknowledged and thanked the Hotel and Restaurant industry for its immense contribution during the pandemic and as warriors against the pandemic.
“I appreciate the contribution of the hospitality industry to the country and assure you that the government is doing everything in its capacity to alleviate the pain of every sector, including hospitality and tourism. We should look at MSME category for charting out revival strategies. I acknowledge the importance and need of single window clearance and I am on board with the industry for expediting this policy. Transparent, online process is the need of the hour for establishing Ease of Doing Business and which is beneficial for both the Government and for businesses,” said Goyal.
Shetty highlighted the need for the hospitality industry’s inclusion in the consultation for e-commerce policy. The Minister has agreed to investigate the conduct of the OTAs regarding market distortion and dominance on the back of international funding which has severely affected several small hotels across India.
The Federation has requested for the minister to look into – Increasing the investment cap from the present Rs 50 Cr to Rs 150 Cr; Acknowledge the industry Forex earnings from all foreign guests as Deemed exports
Open Suburban railways to operate for labour to travel to work; Waiver of electricity duties and charges and / or removal of tariff based on Fixed charges and instead to be based on actual consumption; Increase the number of people attending social functions at hotels from 50 to 50 per cent depending on the size of the facility; Allow serving liquor in hotels; Hospitality industry should have one-time and one window licencing; Quick and immediate release of funds from SEIS licenses to cover the overhead expenses; Find a regulatory mechanism for streamlining the issue of music copyrights for playing at hotels; Order de-listing all illegal properties from OTAs and bringing all such properties under the regulation.