COVID-19: Apex body of amusement park industry writes to PM, seeks help

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Pune, May 31 (PTI) Citing heavy losses to the amusement parks industry in the country due to pandemic, the Indian Association of Amusement Parks and Industries (IAAPI) has sought help from the government to save the industry which is hit hard by COVID-19.

Rajeev Jalnapurkar, Chairman of the IAAPI, an apex body that represents the interests of amusement parks, theme parks, water parks, and indoor amusement centres in India, has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking help from the Centre.

'Amusement parks contribute nearly 40 per cent of the total leisure industry turnover which are key drivers of growth among the service sector in India. The industry is going through an unprecedented situation and has suffered heavy losses due to the pandemic,' said Jalnapurkar.

Stating that the industry has significantly contributed to the local economy and tourism, Jalnapurkar said that according to an estimate the amusement and theme parks segment has suffered losses to the tune of Rs 90,000 crore so far.

He added that the industry is in a nascent state in the country and was badly hit by the pandemic.

'As it is running out of capital, it is becoming difficult for the operators to meet the financial obligations such as staff salaries, taxes, GST, provident fund, loan installments, and other state levies,' said Jalnapurkar.

He said that sustaining business in such an environment has become a major concern and the industry is now struggling for its survival.

The amusement parks industry is in dire straits and is facing acute financial distress and bankruptcy, closure of businesses, and massive job losses.

In a letter to Modi, the association appealed to him to consider some significant factors like fiscal statutory compliance deadlines, reduction of effective rate of interest on loans from financial institutions, complete GST holiday for 12 months, moratorium of 12 months on payments to financial institutions, fiscal support for salaries, and waiver of the custom duties on import of spare parts.

'We have also urged the centre to advise the states to facilitate the creation of 'amusement manufacturing hub' under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan to manufacture different rides for the amusement parks, equipment, automation, electronics, and spares by providing incentives to encourage the industry,' said Jalnapurkar.

He added that IAAPI is also looking for support from the state governments in terms of considerable reduction in property tax, water and electricity charges.

According to the apex body, the industry provides direct employment to over 75,000 people and indirectly providing livelihood to about 2.5 lakh people.

Founded in 1999, IAAPI has 461 members including the park operators and entrepreneurs from the MSME sector which manufactures equipment required for the industry.

In India, there are about 150 amusement/water parks and about 1,000 indoor amusement centres. PTI SPK RSY MKJ MKJ

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