The Union Budget 2018-19, presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, proposes to develop 10 prominent tourist sites into iconic destinations, focus on the UDAN scheme and work on digital connectivity at railway stations. TRAVTALK spoke with industry experts to find out their opinion on this year’s Budget. None of them seemed too upbeat about it.
“The tourism sector had pinned hopes on the Budget in anticipation of certain key measures such as export status to tourism industry. However, against expectations, nothing has been mentioned about this in the Budget and GST issues linger. We have been pleading the government that our taxes are much higher compared to our neighbouring countries and we need to be on a par with them. Some developments will have a positive impact such as developing 10 iconic destinations, enhancing tourist amenities at 100 Adarsh monuments, expanding airport capacity more than five times” Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO
“The Budget has nothing for aviation and tourism industry. We were looking forward to the government giving us industry status, decrease the GST, develop tourism by making it tax free or lowering the taxes. However, nothing like that has happened. The positive is that they are going to build up 10 smart cities, which would boost the infrastructure and help in tourism. Also, the airport infrastructure is going to be developed further, with which we are looking forward to more connectivity with international flights from Tier-II cities.” Jyoti Mayal, Honorary Secretary, TAAI
“As on expected lines keeping in mind the 2019 elections, there has been nothing substantial and exciting for the SME’s or salaried people in Budget 2018. However, from the industry perspective, it is heartening to note the intent to upgrade the existing airport facilities in the country to be able to handle more than five times the existing traffic. The proposal to develop 10 tourist sites across India into ‘iconic tourist sites’ is a welcome initiative as it will help in inbound tourism. Besides these references to tourism, this year again, the tourism industry is not given any significant impetus.” Mahendra Vakharia, India Travel Award winner and President, OTOAI