Budget 2019: How Modi government can boost India’s travel and tourism industry like never before

New Delhi | Published: July 2, 2019 4:22:53 PM

Budget 2019 India: It is important to recall that the travel and tourism industry in India accounts for more than 9% of the GDP. Thus, this is an industry that is creating great opportunities for employment and foreign-exchange.

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By Nishant Pitti

Budget 2019 is the clear buzzword across the nation today. India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be presenting the Budget 2019-20 in the Parliament on July 05. Like every year, industries across varied sectors are expecting a lot from Budget 2019. From implementation of schemes to improvement in infrastructure, here are a few amendments that can prove to be a major differentiating factor in the travel and tourism industry from the previous years’ budgets.

It is important to recall that the travel and tourism industry in India accounts for more than 9% of the GDP. Thus, this is an industry that is creating great opportunities for employment and foreign-exchange. The need of the hour is that the government should increase their focus on this sector in Union Budget of 2019-20 with some of the following measures:

The government should allocate a considerable amount and pay attention to the sanitation and cleanliness of all tourist places and destinations. Strict rules should be made and implemented to provide better hygiene facilities at all tourist spots.

In order to attract more travelers and boost tourism at one go, investments are needed. These investments can be utilised to push marketing plans for highlighting some of the country’s relatively unknown and offbeat places, which can also include historical destinations, places promoting Indian traditions like yoga, meditation, pilgrimage sites and more.

From a travel perspective, UDAN is a very good initiative. The government should promote this scheme more aggressively to boost regional connectivity and enable more passengers to travel at affordable rates.

Most of the infrastructure across Indian airports needs to be scaled up much more to meet the growing number of tourists and air travelers on priority

The government should allocate funds specifically to benefit MSMEs, including hotels to facilitate growth and create employment opportunities

An urgent actionable point is to bring uniformity in taxes applicable on hotel rooms. Presently, there are two tax slabs on hotel rooms- 18% and 28%. If this is brought down to over 10%, it would provide considerable relief to both guests and hoteliers.

There must be no delay in refund of GST since its postponement blocks the working capital and brings imbalance in the industry.

These are measures to get started with in order to boost the travel and tourism industry.

(The author is Co-Founder & CEO, EaseMyTrip. From 2012-14, he has also served as honorary secretary of the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI). Views expressed are the author’s own.)

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