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Tourism sector has huge potential, says Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the Budget

“There is great potential of tourism, domestic and international to promote job opportunities, especially for the youth. Promotion of tourism will be done in mission mode”, Said Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister while presenting the Union Budget 2023. Her statement shows the intent of Government about the sector.

Sitharaman also announced that 50 tourist destinations will be selected through challenge mode to be developed as a whole package for domestic and international tourism. Going forward, for these selected 50 destinations, information on physical connectivity, virtual connectivity, tourist guides, food streets and tourist security and other relevant aspects of the visitor experience would be made available through an app. India’s G-20 presidency will also be used as an opportunity to push India as a preferred tourist destination. Besides this, initiatives will be taken to set up tourism at border villages.

Let’s see how industry reacts

“The Union budget has positives in the form of infrastructure development, increased last mile connectivity, the new Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSMEs, the promise to develop tourism destinations in a holistic manner and the establishment of Unity Malls – all of which are good in the medium to long term – what’s missing is direct immediate support or relief to a sector that has suffered the worst and is only now beginning to revive after the pandemic.

We had hoped for a rationalisation of GST and a reduction in TCS, but instead have been presented with a steep increase in TCS which has jumped for 5% to 20% for outbound tour packages. No doubt, the threshold of 50 lakhs for 20% TCS will affect institutional travel more than individuals, but it is a dampener nonetheless for the travel & tourism sector,” Ajay Prakash, President, TAFI

“For the first time the Hon’ble Finance Minister has in start of the budget addressed the important of tourism in India and recognised its potential for growth in employment generation and it needs to be tapped,” Rajiv Mehra, President, Indian Association of Tour Operators

“A new chapter in India’s travel and tourism industry is set to begin as the Budget 2023 announcement comes to a close. The positive outlook for the industry displayed by FM Nirmala Sitharaman early on in her speech is highly commendable, taking up the agenda for promoting tourism in the country on “mission mode,” and will play a vital role in reviving the landscape of tourism in India. The initiative to provide additional infrastructural support with fifty new airports, heliports, water aerodromes, and advanced landing zones in India, along with the simplification of registration and overall regulations under the GIFT IFSC will pave the way for new entrants in the aviation industry, which has experienced increasing demand both domestically and internationally,”  Nishant Pitti, CEO and Co-Founder, EaseMyTrip

“Indian tourism, travel & hospitalty industry was keenly looking forward to getting the vital infrastructure status, to be treated at par with merchandise exports, to have gotten enhanced support to tourism for global marketing, to have had a directional positive guidance on GST issues for tourism and was looking forward to enhanced tax / financial support mechanisms to tourism MSMEs which are more than 95% of industry entrepreneurs are travel agents, hotels, tour operators, restaurants, tourist transporters and guides among others. The proposed increased in TCS will impact negatively Indian travel agents and tour operators by reducing their competitiveness,” Ashish Gupta, Consulting CEO, FAITH

“Honourable FMs push for the tourism sector is a great booster for the Indian hospitality industry. While post pandemic there has been a significant increase in domestic tourism’s contribution to luxury hotels, ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ campaign will further add to the momentum. The government’s focus on tourism promotion is evident in their opening up opportunities for joint participation of the states and private players in Government programs via the PPP mode. This will be a major driver for growth to tourism across India. Further, the development of 50 new airports and 50 destinations through challenge mode to develop a consolidated package for both domestic and international tourism also augurs well for India’s hospitality industry that has long grappled with infrastructure bottlenecks,” Kush Kapoor, CEO, Roseate Hotels & Resorts

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