With the Annual Budget 2015 round the corner, every industry is expecting it to be business friendly. Last year’s Annual Budget gave tourism a very important spot and allotted a good amount for the industry, thereby increasing expectations. The Modi led government has also focused a lot on the tourism segment and has initiated many major steps like the Visa on Arrival, ETA, and so on. Lets have a look at the expectations from the who’s who of the tourism fraternity for this year’s Annual Budget.
Dev Karvat, managing director, TrawellTag Cover-More, India said, “I’m quite hopeful that the upcoming Union Budget will be in favour of the tourism industry. Since the sector has been officially included in the government’s election manifesto, I feel that for the first time, the travel industry has been looked at seriously. Introduction of e-visa in India has instilled a new lease of life into the existing tourism sector. Now we expect the upcoming Budget to allocate higher investment for development of Tier I and Tier II city airports to boost inbound and outbound travelling. This year’s Union Budget should also focus on bringing in vital tax reforms and developing the infrastructure of popular tourist destinations to improve the current state of economy and position India as a globally competitive tourist destination.
Harmandeep Singh Anand, secretary general, Travel Agents Association of India said, “TAAI had made certain representations to the government for providing exemptions. Following the representation, couple of exemptions were granted by the government namely- exemption to tour operator for conducting tours for foreign tourist wholly outside India; exemption from levy of service tax on Haj and Kailash Mansarovar Yatras. Although, all the issues weren’t addressed by the government previously, but we are still hopeful for continued redressal of issues faced by the travel industry so as to provide a boost to this industry and promote tourism.”
Umapada Chatterjee, director of tourism and ex-officio special secretary, Government of West Bengal said, “In our state the present government has emphasised a lot on tourism. The central government has taken major steps in getting in place the e-visa and visa on arrival systems. The central government is also developing 50 circuits out of which two are in West Bengal. The Budget must focus in building infrastructure, last mile connectivity and publicity. We expect the central government to allot more budget to promote our state. It should be a joint effort by the state and centre.”
Rajeev Wagle, managing director, Kuoni India said, “First of all, we want the government to look into the GST. We want to look at the operational details of full GST. The government has done a lot on the inbound front like the e-visas and visa on arrival. A few issues on taxes should be clarified. I do believe both outbound and business travel is doing good but in this Budget we will look forward for some tax clarity.”
Ankur Bhatia, executive director, Bird Group and member, CII National Committee on Civil Aviation said, “The Indian aviation industry is on a high growth trajectory, with the coming up of new world class airlines and development of world class airports. The need for regional connectivity has been felt and Cabinet’s decision to develop new airports in Tier-I and Tier-II Cities is definitely a very positive move. Yet there are significant challenges related to land acquisition, various regulatory approvals and finalisation of airport tariffs. I expect these challenges to be addressed in the forthcoming budget. There is an immense potential for growth of the Indian civil aviation industry provided certain structural deficiencies are corrected. It would serve as a key enabler for economic growth, employment creation and tax revenues. It is imperative that success of civil aviation is seen as a national priority, a goal shared by different ministries, government agencies and the industry.”