40% travel, tourism firm staring at complete shutdown risk in next 3-6 months: Report

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Around 40 per cent companies operating in the travel and tourism sector are staring at the risk of complete shutdown over the next 3 to 6 months, says a report, even as the domestic flights resume operations after over 2-month suspension due to lockdown.

Also, nearly 36 per cent of such companies are likely to witness a temporary shutdown, according to the report by BOTT Travel Sentiment Tracker in partnership with seven national associations like IATO, TAAI, ICPB, ADTOI, OTOAI, ATOAI and SITE.

The report said that 81 per cent travel and tourism companies have lost their revenue up to 100 per cent while 15 per cent of the companies have witnessed it slide up to 75 per cent.

The BOTT Travel Sentiment Tracker survey was done online with over 2,300 travel and tourism business owners and company representatives across the country over a period of 10 days.

“The pandemic has hit the travel and tourism sector hard with as many as 40 per cent companies facing the risk of complete shutdown in the next 3 to 6 months while another 35.7 per cent might go for a temporary shutdown,” it said.

The survey report further revealed that 38.6 per cent travel companies are going for job cuts and another 37.6 per cent of the companies are considering the option with uncertainty looming large.

“The travel and tourism sector is going through a very bad phase. It has taken a severe beating due to the COVID-19 outbreak with lakhs of people dependent on it suffering immense losses and job cuts,” the report said.

This survey has further confirmed fear that travel companies are staring at partial and complete shutdown in addition to job cuts, adjustment of workforce in form of pay cuts, deferment of salaries and termination of contracts, according to the survey.

“This is an unprecedented situation and the government should extend some relief for the survival of thousands of companies, Travel Agents Association of India president Jyoti Mayal said.

As per the survey, 73 per cent travel companies have gone for adjustment of workforce including pay cuts, deferment of salaries, termination of contracts, while 67 per cent have gone for steps like reduction of overheads.

About 49 per cent are deferring their capital expenditures and interestingly, 41.6 per cent companies are introducing new services.

Meanwhile, 78.6 per cent of travel and tourism companies said they expect the government to create a tourism relief fund immediately, followed by 68.2 per cent who want refunds of cancellations and advances of travel agents and tour operators from airlines.

About 67.7 per cent want the government to lower the applicable GST rates by 5 per cent and 54.2 per cent and 49.3 per cent of companies and professionals want a moratorium on repayment of EMIs of principal and interest for term loans for 12 months and deferment of TDS deposit for 1 year, respectively.

We will definitely withstand the crisis because we believe that it is the darkest before dawn. Hopefully, with the starting of the domestic flights this month and international flights later in June, I see light at the end of the tunnel, Assocham Tourism Council Chairman and FAITH honorary secretary Subhash Goyal added.