Declare Tourism sector as a Priority Sector: Naveen Kundu
Naveen Kundu, MD, EbixCash
Budget Expectations for Tourism & Hospitality
We all know that tourism and hospitality sector has been worst hit and it is now third year in row with practically no revenues. We have lost talent as well as business, and everything is in a stand still mode. Even domestic tourism that shows some signs of recovery gets into a lean patch with every wave, leaving everyone guessing, what is coming next.
Investment in tourism is at an all-time low, and if not now, then I feel there will never be a time when tourism sector in this country will ever get its due.
Imagine the sector that generates 50 million jobs a year, contributes almost 10% to India’s GDP and form the core of large indirect taxes gets a just 2,000 crores in budget allocation with no specific plan ever narrated by any Finance or Tourism Minister on the plan.
Personally, I have huge expectations from this Budget and what the Finance Minister, and hope they offer Tourism and Hospitality “Industry” status.
1. Declare Tourism sector as a Priority Sector for the next 2 years & offer it industry status
2. Provide Budget for loans with rates of interests as offered to Industry, with flexibility of re-structuring the loans at least twice due the lean cycles we observe every now & then. Offer tariffs which are at par with the industry if not lower.
3. Provide tax concession to hotels and resorts in India to boost demand for domestic tourism and inbound tourism.
4. Provide tax subsidy to travel agents who promote inbound tourism (forex earning agencies) & offer them incentives on earning forex as exports sector.
5. Create a budget to appoint several large PR companies globally to promote Product India with all its diversity and hospitality.
6. Provide Tax refunds to domestic travellers who spend large amount of their vacation budgets in India.
7. Offer a financial tax support to corporates/associations who conduct their meetings & events in India.
8. Offer direct financial support up to INR 1,000 crores for all global companies /associations and world bodies who conduct their events, conferences and exhibitions in india
9. Announce a state of art Skill Development Institute on the lines of IIM which will be India’s first Tourism University offering various courses.
10. Reduce Haulage on Luxury trains and offer tax subsidy on operating more luxury and Bharat Gaurav trains in India.