Top Goa hoteliers and tourism industry stakeholders met Chief Minister Pramod Sawant in Panaji on Friday and sought reduction in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on room tariff from 28 per cent to 12 per cent to help the state compete with international destinations, like Thailand and Sri Lanka.

Savio Messias, president of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa, told IANS the high GST on room tariff was squeezing the tourism industry and keeping it from being competitive in the global market.

“We have submitted to the Chief Minister our plea for reduction in the GST on room rates from 28 per cent to 12 per cent,” Messias said.

At present, rooms in starred hotels attract high GST, which is more than one-fourth of the tariff.

Messias said rival tourism destinations, like Thailand and Sri Lanka, charge less tax on room tariff, which enables them to attract tourists by offering rooms at more affordable rates compared with Goa.

“The Chief Minister has promised to take up the issue with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman when she arrives here to chair the GST Council meeting, scheduled on September 20,” Messias said.

Goa is one of the top tourism destinations in the country and attracts nearly eight million tourists. But the tourism industry says the high tax is proving a deterrent to the hotel and tourism industry.