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FAITH: Amending section 4 of COTPA Act will adversely impact recovery of tourism industry

New Delhi: Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality, the policy federation of all the national associations representing the complete tourism, travel and, hospitality industry of India (ADTOI, ATOAI, FHRAI, HAI, IATO, ICPB, IHHA, ITTA, TAAI, TAFI) has requested Government of India not to amend the provision of section 4 of the COTPA Act, 2003 under the proposed COTPA Amendment Bill 2020.

Section 4 of COTPA Act 2003 empowers travelling public, eating out diners and tourists to exercise their choice of smoking in designated public areas and enhance the 'travelling out' experience they may be seeking.

FAITH said that the proposed move to amend the provision of Section 4 of the COTPA Act will adversely impact Indian tourism and hospitality industry which is already reeling under the impact of Covid-19 displacing direct and indirect tourism jobs for almost 3.5 crores Indians. Additionally, this may not only negatively impact inbound tourists to India who prefer to smoke in the 'smoking rooms' but may also accelerate Indians travelling (already above 27 million) outbound to neighboring countries and to developed markets for leisure trips thereby impacting domestic tourism.

Aashish Gupta, Consulting CEO, FAITH said, "The tourism industry is a highly competitive business. Appreciating its potential as an economic value creator, nations are furiously competing for a larger share in this industry and are encouraging and promoting domestic tourism like never before. Indian Tourism is not yet among the most competitive tourism industries in the world representing miniscule percentage of the world market-share. The government must retain and support bold policy measures like Section 4 of COTPA Act that enhance the 'travelling out' experience to make India a 'must-see' destination for tourists."

The tourism, travel, and hospitality industry is estimated to impact between 9-10 per cent GDP of India from both a direct and an indirect perspective. India is in the league of many democratic and tourist-friendly nations such as France, Italy, and Brussels which have designated smoking rooms and receive more than 200 million foreign tourists between them. In Asia, India competes with countries such as China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Maldives & Bangladesh for more than $200 bn foreign exchange which comes within the region from tourism.

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