Visakhapatnam: Battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, tours and travel operators in Andhra Pradesh have sought relief package from the government to tide over the crisis. They have asked the government to sanction a grant of Rs. 5 lakh to each travel company and Rs. 50,000 to each employee or work out a loan model of up to Rs. 20 lakhs in association with the State Financial Corporation.

It is estimated that the tours and travel industry of Andhra Pradesh has suffered a loss of over Rs. 425 crore till May 2021 due to the pandemic.

The representatives of Tours and Travels Associations of Andhra Pradesh submitted a proposal to Chief Minister Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy through Rajya Sabha MP V. Vijayasai Reddy seeking a relief package since the industry contributes 10 per cent to the GDP.

The travel agencies in Andhra Pradesh have about 6,000 employees and with no revenue for over 17 months due to the COVID-19 crisis that has stalled tourism businesses, some agencies have run out of capital and are unable to pay salaries to their staff. Around 95 per cent of the employees would have lost their jobs by now, said the president of the Tours and Travel Association, K. Vijay Mohan. Each travel agent in the state would have suffered a loss of over Rs. 25 crore, he added.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus has claimed the lives of three travel agents in the state while 13 were hospitalized. Apart from the financial assistance to stakeholders, the representatives are also seeking power bill waiver, exemption on renewal of trade license fee, advertisement tax and inter-state road taxes and intra-city tax exemption for tourist buses. to save the industry.

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