Fitness industry seeks GST rebate as biz traction seen only in 2021
Fitness industry major Gold's Gym India expects at least a year's lag time before the business gains traction.
The Centre on Wednesday announced its Unlock 3.0 measures, under which gyms and fitness centres have been allowed to commence operations.
"Post the re-opening, it will take us up to March 31, 2021 to see traction in business," said Shraddha Sheth, VP, Sales, Operations and Marketing, at Gold's Gym India.
Accordingly, the company has urged the Centre to provide a GST tax holiday on membership fees.
"The lockdown has affected several industries along with the fitness industry. The fitness industry is majorly a fixed cost business, 85 per cent of it is fixed in nature," she said.
At present, 18 per cent GST is charged on gym membership fees. The GST rates are decided by the GST Council comprising state Finance Ministers and Central government representatives.
"We would request the government to give a GST tax holiday on membership, as to fight against Covid-19 one needs to have stronger immunity and that can happen by 'Staying Active, Staying Fit'. This is possible under the supervision of fitness expert at the gyms," she said.
"The government must encourage more people to be fit and fulfil our prim e minister's mission of fit India movement," she added.
According to Sheth, the company is exploring other ways of generating revenue by going digital. However, the income stream is "minuscule as it's at a nascent stage".
Recently, the company has launched the Gold's Gym India App and has invested to create a string of applications.
Besides, she pointed out that landlords have been considerate and "supported up to some extent in these testing times where business was completely shut for more than 125 plus days."
On the international experience of the fitness industry, Sheth said the company has "learned from our principles at Gold's Gym International on how gyms can be opened post lockdown".
"Based upon our learning from them we have developed a special precautionary measures manual for both the staff and our members that needs to be taken while maintaining social distancing, hygiene and usage of equipment," she said.
Gold's Gym India has been operating in the country for more than 17 years.
In the pre-lockdown period, it had 150 gyms across 95 cities. The global chain is deeply entrenched in popular culture.
In 1977, it received international attention as it was featured in the movie "Pumping Iron" starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. - IANS