New India tax ruffles Marco Polo Reisen

MARCO POLO Reisen, which described last year as the “India year” for it, has warned the destination not to spoil the gains with a proposed bed and F&B tax which suppliers are starting to negotiate to pass on to tour operators.

“India is keeping its high volume, having recovered so well from the impact of the Mumbai attacks two years ago. But higher taxes, coming when the season has started and the brochures produced, won’t help. These higher taxes are also in addition to increases in room rates and currency exchange rates,” said managing director Holger Baldus.

India “for the first time in decades” became one of Marco Polo’s top three destinations last year, along with China and Indochina. “This is true of both us and (sister) Studiosus,” he said.

Thailand used to be stronger than India but is still “non-existent” due to Bangkok’s political protests.

The Studiosus Group roped in a nine per cent growth in passenger numbers last year, but Baldus expects this year to yield a smaller growth as a result of the Middle East restiveness, which is affecting bookings to destinations such as Egypt, Jordan and Israel. He expects Asia to gain some business from the Middle East political tensions.

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