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Monday, 01 February, 2021, 16 : 40 PM [IST]

Union Budget: Mood of disappointment looms large on the travel & tourism industry

The hopes of the travel & tourism have been completely washed out with no relief in the Union Budget FY22, and the outlay for the sector being reduced from INR 2,499.83 crore in 2020-2021 to INR 2,032.04 crore in 2021-2022.  Travel trade associations had submitted a slew of suggestions to the government seeking urgent support for the industry on life support after a dismal 2020 due to the pandemic-induced restrictions.

Jyoti Mayal, President, TAAI said, “We expected much more from the Budget. Travel, tourism and hospitality industry was completely neglected. The Budget on the whole is about empowering people, greater economic freedom, infrastructure but all that is all long-term, and the relevance of travel & tourism has been undermined.”

 "The tourism industry employs 75 million people directly or indirectly. Had Government offered some sops to the industry, 40-45 million jobs which are on the verge of extinction could be saved," said Subhash Goyal, Founder Chairman, STIC Travel Group.

Industry Reaction

Madhavan Menon, Chairman & Managing Director, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.
For an industry that is a crucial contributor to India’s GDP and a powerful force multiplier, priority tourism related announcements – an imperative to revival and sustenance - were clearly missed. We are looking at a long road to recovery and the Union Budget has not provided the helping hand that was expected of it.

Vishal Suri Managing Director SOTC Travel

The government has set an ambitious target of building infrastructure in the country with special scheme to nudge states to spend more of their budget on infrastructure, providing Rs 1.10 Lakh Crore for railways, privatising of airports and Indian railways national rail plan for India to prepare a future-ready railway system by 2030. These contribute towards sustainable growth within the tourism sector. With airports to be privatised in Tier-II and III cities, it will improve regional connectivity. 

Sonica Malhotra Kandhari, Joint Managing Director, MBD Group

We were looking for some measures related to travel & hospitality sector such as awarding infrastructure status to the hospitality industry and to reduce GST rate on hospitality which have not been addressed in the budget. These reforms would have helped in the revival of this industry as it has been severely battered by the pandemic.

Ankur Bhatia , Executive Director, Bird Group 
We expect a full throttle vaccination programme augmented by the INR 34,000 crore funding will bring the long awaited cheer to the sector. People will start flying with confidence for leisure like during pre-Covid times after being significantly emboldened by inoculation against the virus.

Lubaina Sheerazi, Co-Founder BRANDit India

The budget has turned out to be a dampener for the tourism industry. With the sector being most affected during 2020 with the adverse impact of COVID-19, there was much anticipation for direct support from the government to revive the sector. However, there has been no respite in this regard.  Tourism is a key driver contributing to the country’s economic growth, but with the budget not having a subduing effect the pandemic cloud will continue to loom over us. Having said that, I do believe that we are a resilient lot and the tourism sector with its immense potential will slowly rise above its capacity in the months to come. With vaccines rolling out, travellers will feel more confident to explore giving the sector the much needed impetus to bring us back on track.

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