Pune: Amusement parks that contribute nearly 40 per cent of the total leisure industry turnover which are key drivers of growth among the service sector in India are going through an unprecedented situation and have suffered heavy losses due to the pandemic. According to an estimate the amusement and theme parks segment has suffered losses to the tune of Rs 90000 crore so far.

The industry that has been significantly contributing to the local economy and tourism is now looking at some help from the state and the central government.

Rajeev Jalnapurkar, Chairman of the Indian Association of Amusement Parks and Industries (IAAPI) has urged the Prime Minister to extend help through a letter addressed to him.

IAAPI was founded in 1999 and currently has 461 members including the park operators and entrepreneurs from the MSME sector which manufacture equipment required for the industry. In India there are about 150 amusement / water parks and about 1000 indoor amusement centers.

This industry which is in its nascent stage in India got badly hit by the pandemic and is running out of working capital and is finding it difficult to meet its financial obligations such as staff salaries, advance tax, GST, PF, ESI and other state levies, loan interest and installment payments.

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 written to India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, Rajeev Jalnapurkar  appealed 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, waiver of the custom duties on import of spare parts and to advise the states to facilitate creation of “Amusement Manufacturing Hub” under the “Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” to manufacture different rides for the  amusement parks, equipment, automation, electronics and spares by providing incentives to encourage the industry.

The IAAPI is also looking forward to the support from the state governments in terms of considerable reduction in property tax, water and electricity charges.

It may be noted that over 3 Crore visitors pay a visit to different amusement parks in India and about 35 per cent of them are outstation visitors which helps the travel and tourism industry and the local economy.

The segment was steadily growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 17.5 per cent with annual revenue of approximately INR 17 billion, providing direct employment to over 75,000 people and indirectly providing livelihood to about 2.5 lakh people.

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