NEW DELHI: Welcoming NDA government's pro-tourism policy, Thomas Cook (India), which organises inbound and outbound tour packages, has pitched in for rationalising the entertainment tax to make India a more viable destination for travellers.
"Tax rationalisation and uniformity across state lines will play a vital role in creating an attractive value proposition for product Destination India," company's Managing Director Madhavan Menon said here.
"We need to reduce the entertainment tax to make our hotels attractive. If you want to spur economic growth, there should be more efficient ways to tax people," he said.
In Kerala, the entertainment tax is 40%. Reducing the entertaintment tax before the next tourist season starts in November will have a 'positive impact' on inbound traffic and make India a more viable destination, he said.
Praising the new government's pro-tourism policy, he said the fact that the powerful role of tourism in employment generation and as a growth driver had been recognised augurs well for the sector.
The industry is hopeful of prioritisation towards key issues like safety and infrastrucure and swift implementation of the electronic visa authorisation/e-visa, he added.
If the e-visa policy, which the previous government had announced, was executed quickly, there would be increase in tourist inflow and Kerala will directly benefit from such connectivity, he said.
On Outbound travel, Menon expressed confidence that the company's outbound holidays-- packaged or customised would grow in excess of 10% in the coming quarter.
"Our products not only cater to various segments, but also focus on people who have budgets, who have time constraints and so we have multi-facted our product offering to ensure that it meets everyone's requirements," he said.
There is a need to tell visitors that India was safe, he said.
In Thomas Cook, there was 10-11% drop in women visitors coming from Europe last year. Need of the hour is to talk about "Safe India", Menon said
While a country like Singapore can boast of 16 million tourists a year, India gets only 6.8 million visitors a year. Shortage of rooms in the country is 150,000.
Pointing that personalised holidays had begun to grow, he said University Tours under the Travel and learn portfolio in association with The Red Pen College Tours, USA and Fusion Holidays combining the price advantage of group tours with the freedom to customise personal holiday inineraires were in good demand.