Travel Inc's Budget wishlist: Boost homestays, better road connectivity, enable cruising sector
Easy and accessible e-visa policies will attract more foreign tourists.
Last Updated: Jan 30, 2020, 08.23 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: The travel industry is optimistic that the Union Budget can boost the tourism sector, which, will, in turn help the country's economy grow.
Tourism industry experts feel that India's rich heritage remains untapped and unexplored, and have a list of suggestions for Finance Minister Niramala Sitharaman before she presents her second Budget on Saturday.
The industry watchers think that a start-up fund for travel agencies, reduction of GST on domestic hotels and regulatory ecosystem in the backpacker sector can help the country's GDP grow. They also believe that easy and accessible e-visa policies will attract more foreign tourists.
Dharamveer Singh Chouhan, Co-founder and CEO, Zostel
"Tourism industry has been one of the most consistent and fastest-growing sectors of the Indian economy, contributing roughly 9.2% to the overall GDP. The sector is expected to grow at an annual rate of 6.9% to $490 billion by 2028, expecting to see close to 31 billion foreign tourist arrivals. Developing the sector further can help in reviving the current GDP growth rate.
"India’s rich heritage remains untapped and unexplored on account of their remote locations. Impetus to projects such as Incredible India, UDAN, new initiatives to promote our heritage destinations and better road connectivity will definitely help reinforce the tourism market.
"FM's attention on policies pertaining to better connectivity, enhanced facilities, and experiences for the tourists will certainly help our tourism industry. The focus should also be given on skill development and education at all levels across the travel domain to create equal employment opportunities for everyone in the sector.
"We were expecting reforms in rate slabs of GST, Input Tax Credit and a definitive step to boost the domestic and inbound traffic. Incentivising banks and financial institutions to extend funds to the home-entrepreneurs in association with trusted government partners will go a long way. It will quickly develop the infrastructure, in tandem with promoting remote destinations with last-mile connectivity from major metros to tourism destinations, and unlock India’s full tourism potential.
"Easy and accessible e-visa policies would also help boost inbound tourist arrivals from more countries. We are also expecting the UDAN scheme to be extended to more airports and help develop the regional travel economy. The initiation of PPP's for developing existing government accommodation assets and open areas in terms of investment, operating efficiency and modern technology will help the sector to reduce operating and maintenance costs, and boost quality and innovation. This move will draw keen interest from players who are willing to partner with the Government to work towards developing these projects, bringing in new travel niches such as caravan parks, recreational vehicle (RV) transport in parallel with promoting and developing the Indian homestay segment.
"A regulatory ecosystem in the backpacker industry will help boost India's role in the segment, having a positive impact on increasing both the demand of domestic and inbound travellers as well as asset supply to cater to this growth. Travel companies will look forward to working in tandem with the Finance & Tourism Ministries in boosting the influx of both domestic and foreign tourists, and positioning India as one of the leading travel economies of the world.
Mohit Poddar, CEO & Co-Founder, Shoes on Loose
"Any reduction in GST will give fillip to small travel agents. I hope that the Government brings necessary provisions to accommodate four different slabs under 'One GST Rate' in 2020 Budget. We also expect the Government to reduce GST on domestic hotels, and start more direct flights to places like Bali and Thailand.
"While the tax-ratio benefits inbound operators to grow in the inbound market, the Government can also look at setting up startup funds for travel agencies.
"For Budget, the Government should create a licensing system to boost revenue and create an entry barrier. Moreover, with this Budget, the Government should take initiatives to encourage hiring in the sector by simplifying the processes."
Varun Chadha, CEO, TIRUN (Indian representative of Royal Caribbean Cruises)
"The Government has recognised the potential of cruising as an economic multiplier and is catching up with the world in terms of policies and infrastructure. The Government should create a relatable tax regime, which is at par with the rest of the world."
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Steps To Boost Indian Economy
25 Jan, 2020All eyes are on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as she gets to roll out her second Budget on February 1.While the main focus is to spur economic growth, India Inc bosses feel certain initiatives in this year's Budget will help various sectors like food, culture & art, real estate, fintech and automobile. Several suggestions like boosting 'Make In India' in order to generate employment, reviving consumer demand and reintroducing the subvention scheme have also been doing the rounds.As the day nears, here are some suggestions from top business leaders.
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