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The Good and the Bad of the New India Budget on Tourism

Image courtesy of D Mz from Pixabay

By and large, the union budget of India presented today by Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs of India, has failed to excite the travel industry, although some sections have praised certain provisions in the proposals.

Travel associations like the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) have called the budget disappointing, pointing out that suggestions to boost the sector have been ignored, even as it has been suffering for 3 years. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), however, has welcomed focus on sustainability and higher allocation for infrastructure.

Further on the reaction front, one interesting point is that while big associations have spoken of a lack of focus on tourism, some smaller players see positive aspects in the proposals made. Here is how some of them have commented.

Chairman and Managing Director of Jewel Classic Hotels Pvt Ltd., Manbeer Choudhary, welcomed the extension of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) and the allocation of an additional RS 50,000 crores for the hospitality sector until March 2023.

Cornitos Managing Director V. Agarwal called the budget progressive with a focus on infrastructure.

Joint Managing Director of BLS International, Shikhar Aggarwal, welcomed the introduction of an epassport and the Digital India vision which will be strengthened and will also help boost the travel industry.

Travel and Tourism Veteran Subhash Goyal said the importance of tourism for jobs has not been realized.

Hosteller Founder, Pranav Dangi, called the budget forward looking with the impact of it on the horizon in 3 to 4 years.

Pride Hotels Managing Director S. P. Jain said that the guaranteed scheme extension will be a boon for the hospitality industry.

The CEO of JetSetGo Aviation Services Private Limited, Ms. Kanika Tekriwal, felt that the epassport will help in developing hassle-free travel.

Even as some of the tourism industry is irked that not much has been done for it in the budget, ironically funds for domestic and overseas publicity and marketing were not utilized fully, because of the pandemic in India and abroad. Only RS 149 crores were spent out of RS 668 crores estimated in the revised estimate. The creation of tourism infrastructure will take up about 73 percent of the tourism budget of RS 1,750 crores.

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Anil Mathur - eTN India

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