BHUBANESWAR: The extension of the Rs 50,000 crore Emergency Line of Credit Guarantee (ECLGS) scheme until March 2023 for the tourism and hospitality sector is not something stakeholders d ‘Odisha were eagerly waiting. Instead, they wanted incentives and subsidized loans for the industry which has been stifled by two waves of the Covid-19 pandemic and has yet to fully recover.
The ECLGS was launched by the Center as a special scheme following the Covid-19 crisis to extend emergency credit facilities to business enterprises and MSMEs to meet their additional lending needs terms and working capital.
Odisha Hotel and Restaurant Association Chairman JK Mohanty hailed the sanction of Rs 50,000 crore for the hospitality industry as an ECLGS loan to overcome the liquidity crunch in the hospitality sector due to the pandemic. He said, however, that it was another loan that could not be considered relief.
“The additional one-year moratorium period that has been extended to March 2023 is not adequate and must be extended to March 2025 to overcome the loss the industry has already suffered over the past two years. said Mohanty, who is also the Eastern Region Chairman of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO).
The marginal increase in the budget allocation of the Ministry of Tourism from Rs 2,026 crore to Rs 2,400 crore is not at all enough to promote a big country like India, he said and hoped that the eight cable car projects announced in the budget would include Odisha.
The Crown hotel manager, Debasish Patnaik, said extending the ECLGS is another loan burden, not a solution. Subsidized loans were the need of the hour to revive the sector and bring it back to the pre-Covid situation.
Sand and Pebbles chief executive Alok Maharana said more than 20 tour and tour operators in the state have closed their stores in the past two years. “How will they repay the ECLGS loan when the market is not yet fully revived and business is at an all-time low?” he asked.
According to a report by the State Department of Tourism, international tourist arrivals in Odisha fell by 99% in 2021-22 and domestic tourists by 84%.