What a year it has been for the tourism industry indeed
What a year it has been for the tourism industry indeed. For a sector which was once neglected and mostly considered as an afterthought, tourism has received its share of priority and prominence in the year 2014. India is surely playing on a new pitch with new players who are thinking tourism, talking tourism and also walking the talk of tourism. There seems to be a clear sense of positivity in the air and crucial projects which were rusting in the corridors of power are finally breaking through the cobwebs. The visa on arrival initiative that was highlighted in Arun Jaitley’s Budget speech recently took shape with 43 countries gaining efficient access into India. The decision on the part of both, the ministry of external affairs as well as the home ministry, will surely work well for inbound tourism, both in the leisure and the MICE space.
Another pertinent subject that the finance minister highlighted, which is relevant for the hospitality sector is REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) and InvIT (Infrastructure Investment Trust). Anil Harish, advocate at DM Harish & Co Advocates, in our past issue, clearly stated that REITS has found favour in other countries as an investment vehicle midway between debt and equity, and it has a scope in India. Though, presently some amount of clarity is required but once that comes in, REITS and InvITs should attract substantial investment from India and overseas. The recent railway initiative by the PMO to increase connectivity to the North East is probably one of the best announcements that can happen in the domestic tourism space. The North East is truly the pride of India and fortunately, we finally realised it before it was too late.
In the world of food and food products there is noticeable innovation taking place across the board. From fine dining restaurants that are redesigning their menu to that of QSRs who are charting their robust expansion projects in India, the food business is witnessing an encouraging growth. If some investors in the QSR space are to be believed, then interestingly business for them is making sense in the Tier II and Tier III cities of India. Venturing out into the smaller regions and cities seems to be a preferred choice as market behaviour has made these regions attractive for investments. From changing tastes and preferences to spending patterns, QSRs are fast moving into this space. Finally, coming January Mumbai will welcome India’s leading food and hospitality exhibition, FHW 2015. However, before that do try and take some time out to reflect on the year gone by as we step into 2015 with renewed energy and enthusiasm.