There is no proposal to exempt foreign tourists shopping in the country from the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Union Minister for Tourism and Culture G. Kishan Reddy said.

“As informed by The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, The Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance, there is no proposal at present under consideration of the government to reimburse the GST to foreign tourists at the airport on arrival to India,” he responded.

He was answering an unstarred question from Perambalur Member T.R. Paarivendhar in the Lok Sabha. The MP and founder-chancellor of SRM Group of Institutions wanted to know if any agreements were signed with foreign countries to promote tourism and whether the government was considering a proposal to exempt foreign tourists shopping locally from the GST.

Mr. Reddy said the Ministry had signed 46 agreements with different countries for strengthening and promoting Indian tourism products. The MP wanted to know how many foreign tourists had visited India after the lockdown. The Minister replied that while 27.44 lakh foreign tourists had arrived in the country between January and December 2020, it had fallen to 15.27 lakh in 2021. The provisional number of foreign tourist arrivals in the country was 61.91 lakh till December 2022.

The Integrated GST Act, enacted five years ago, provides for refund on goods, which are to be taken out of the county by a tourist, a person who is normally not a resident of India, and is in the country for not more than six months for non-immigrant purposes.

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