India Tourism Industry Welcomes Budget 2020-21

Travel Agent Association of India (TAAI) and Jalesh Cruises Sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
February 21, 2020
Sunset enjoyed by the President on the beach of Kuakata
February 21, 2020

The Finance Minister has allocated a budget of Rs. 2500 Crore for 2020-21 for the development of tourism sector in the nation. During the budget announcement the fact that Tourism growth is directly related to economic growth and employment generation. The travel and tourism industry has accepted the measures positively and have lauded the initiatives.

Welcoming the slew of initiatives and announcements, Madhavan Menon, Chairman & Managing Director, Thomas Cook (India) said, “The Union Budget has seen encouraging focus intended to give impetus to the Travel & Tourism sector with the allocation of Rs 2500 Cr, equally critical allocation of Rs 1.7 lakh crore towards transportation infrastructure in 2020-21; setting up of 100 additional airports by 2024 and doubling of aircraft as part of the unique Udaan scheme to further boost regional connectivity and ensure affordability; 2000 kms of strategic highways and Tejas equivalent trains to connect iconic tourist destinations. A far-reaching and long term initiative that I truly welcome is the Finance Minister’s announcement that an Indian Institute of Heritage and Conservation will be set up with the status of a deemed university, and this is an imperative towards education and skill development of our sector that contributes a significant 10 per cent to India’s GDP; additionally playing a critical force-multiplier role in job creation-accounting for 26.7 million jobs in 2018 and expected to provide employment to nearly 53 million people, directly and indirectly by 2029. India’s Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE) grew by 7.4% to Rs 1.88 lakh Cr during 2020-21, and the announcement of specialized grants to states will give much-needed fillip towards tourism-focused initiatives on a pan-India basis.”

Jurgen Bailom, CEO & President, Jalesh Cruises said, “We welcome the government’s initiative to allocate Rs 2500 crore for tourism promotion. Being one of the key drivers of growth and the third-largest forex earner for India, this initiative will further create employment growth and strengthen the tourism industry at large. We believe that India is poised for a quantum leap in the space of tourism which will contribute to the GDP growth in the coming years.”

Speaking about the new direct tax regime Vishal Suri, Managing Director, SOTC Travel said, “The new personal income tax regime would put higher disposable incomes in the hands of the individuals, by allowing an option of a lower rate regime if all exemptions (including investment linked exemptions) are foregone. This step would induce consumer spends and inevitably help consumption across sectors, especially tourism. Additionally, India’s natural beauty, rich heritage and culture will further be amplified by the Government’s plans of setting up of five archaeological on-site museums in places such as Rakhi Gadi in Haryana, Hastinapur in UP, Dholavira in Gujarat, Shivsagar in Assam and Adichanallur in Tamil Nadu; a tribal museum in Ranchi, Jharkhand; and a maritime site in Lothal. This is being supported with a budgetary allocation of Rs 3,100 crore earmarked for the Culture Ministry and Rs 2,500 crore for tourism promotion. This will encourage domestic tourism.”

During the Budget announcement there was a major emphasis on the infrastructure development and investment in improving the transportation and connectivity. Jaideep, Ghosh, Partner, Travel, Hospitality and Leisure, KPMG in India added, “Continued emphasis on investments in transport infrastructure, education and digital areas would boost tourism and hospitality sector, which currently faces challenging economic situation. Grants to states for specified tourism initiatives, development of heritage sites and museums are welcome steps. Would expect the investments proposed in tourism, however, to be upped in the coming years.”

Echoing similar opinion Nishant Pitti, Co-Founder & CEO, EaseMyTrip said, “In tune with the present government vision to encourage Indian travellers to travel more and contribute towards the nation’s growth, this budget takes it a step ahead. The budget has focused on promoting tourism & travel with an overall budget of Rs. 2500 crores in year 2020-21. Government aims to develop 100 more domestic airports under the UDAN scheme. To promote travel via railways, government will focus on more Tejas type trains that will connect tourist destinations in India. We are hopeful that this budget will open new avenues for the travel industry.”

Also, the Government has focused significantly on the new initiatives in terms of technological development. Rakshit Desai, Managing Director, FCM Travel Solutions – Indian Subsidiary of Flight Centre Travel Group said, “The tourism industry is a crucial contributor to India’s GDP and we appreciate that the Union Budget 2020-21 presented by Finance Minister Niramala Sitharaman reflects a potential for growth in domestic and inbound tourism. We see a clear focus on revitalizing the aviation and tourism sector which will also boost employment in the industry. Several initiatives like enhancing the role of AI and machine learning will make the industry more technologically competent and help us become future ready.”