The year 2019 was a sluggish one for the travel and tourism space in India due to the economic slowdown. The scenario was exacerbated by the the shutting down of Jet Airways, that resulted in limited capacity additions and higher air fares.
Stakeholders will be hoping the upcoming Budget bolsters the sagging sector.
"It is crucial now to address issues around infrastructure, licensing, approvals, and regulations. The government should promote schemes like UDAN to boost regional connectivity and enable more passengers to travel at affordable rates," said Yogesh Mudras, MD for Informa Markets in India.
He added that uniformity in taxes will be a welcome move and a little more reduction in taxes will give relief to both guests and hoteliers.
Concurring with Mudras is Mohit Poddar, CEO and co-founder, Shoes on Loose. He said that any reduction in GST (Goods and Services Tax) will help small travel agents.
"I hope that the government will bring necessary provisions to accommodate four different slabs under 'One GST Rate' in the upcoming Budget. While the tax ratio has benefits to inbound operators to grow in the inbound market, the government can also look at setting up startup funds for travel agencies.”
Along with reduction in taxes, Nishant Pitti, co-Founder and CEO, EaseMyTrip, said that e-visa facility should be allowed to more countries to encourage more foreign travelers to visit India.
According to him, there is a need to bring in relaxation in taxes for the Indian airline industry considering the thin margins they work on.
Brijesh Modi, Chief Financial Officer, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, expects that newer sectors and travel circuits needs to be created and encouraged through incentives and promotion. North East of India and Kashmir according to him have the potential to provide a lot of opportunities for tourism.
"Travel and tourism industry has emerged as the third largest forex earner for India. At $28.9 billion, India's Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE) for tourism constituted 5.4 percent of total exports. The sector has been a key source of employment as well, directly accounting for 26.7 million jobs in 2018. By 2029, the sector is expected to provide employment to nearly 53 million people, directly and indirectly. Hence it is important to work on fast-tracking the growth of this sector," added Modi.