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Covid-19 outbreak: Hotels body seeks PM’s help to tide over crisis

NEW DELHI: Stating that the hospitality sector is facing a catastrophic situation with revenues plunging ‘overwhelmingly’ amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, apex industry body Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday seeking some exemptions for the sector.

FHRAI has requested a complete GST holiday for the sector for a six-month period besides lenience in loan repayment.

The association has also requested a reduction of bank interest rate by almost 200 basis points with immediate full transmission for working capital purpose.

In its letter, FHRAI said that while almost all tourism verticals have been severely impacted by the crisis but the big jolt has been to the hospitality industry with many of its members reporting cancellations of up to 90%.

The industry body has also sought deferment for fiscal statutory compliance deadlines such as payment of direct or indirect taxes.

In its letter, a copy of which ET has seen, FHRAI said with news of COVID-19 spreading, forward bookings have become negligible, and all kinds of celebrations, weddings, the meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) business, room reservations and wellness sectors have been adversely affected.

“The hospitality industry is the biggest employment generator of both direct and indirect jobs and therefore the industry has to take care of a large number of employees,” FHRAI stated in its letter.

“The hospitality industry requires a lot of working capital to pay taxes such as advance tax and GST…a lot of hoteliers have also taken loans to construct and run their establishments and in such a state, adhering to the one-time payment of EMIs or the repayment of loans seems an onerous task,” FHRAI added.

The association has also requested for a meeting with the prime minister in the coming week in its letter.