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Budget 2023 proposals to stimulate domestic travel and tourism industry

Opinion

Budget 2023 proposals to stimulate domestic travel and tourism industry

The government has taken up the promotion of tourism in mission mode which will foster domestic sector growth

Ashish Sidhra Last Updated:February 02, 2023 13:49:13 IST Budget 2023 proposals to stimulate domestic travel and tourism industry

Visitors at Rock Garden in Chandigarh. AFP

The tourism sector globally suffered a setback during the pandemic-induced lockdowns and social distancing norms. In 2022, the sector got a push with unlocking phases and fully operational international and domestic flights. To further propel the sector’s growth, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced a mixed bag of proposals in the Budget for the Travel and Tourism industry in India.

Travel sector, a key focus area in Budget

The finance minister has allocated Rs. 2400 crore for the tourism industry which is equal to the 2022-2023 Budget allocation. However, the allocation was reduced to Rs. 1343 crore, in the revised budget estimate later in the same period. Considering the Budget allocation, the sector has been inducted as one of the key focus areas for the government. It believes the active participation of states and public-private partnerships will take up tourism promotion on a mission mode.

The government has announced its decision to launch a challenge-based model for the selection of at least 50 destinations across India. It is a hugely welcome step for the development of a world-class tourism experience in the country. There will be a holistic focus on not only hard infrastructure, like physical connectivity but also on softer aspects of Tourism experience delivery like travel agent quality and tourist safety. As a result, the proposed destination rankings will help foster friendly competition among destinations to perform better than their counterparts.

Details of 50 destinations proposals awaited

Though the industry is yet to receive the exact details of the scheme, it still demonstrates a sense of optimism due to the success of a similar model used for the Swachh Bharat City Rankings. The positive impact of city rankings on cleanliness across cities in India was driven in large part due to the sense of competition introduced by the scheme.

In a survey conducted by Local Circles during September-October ‘22, about 53 percent of respondents believed that the scheme had led to an improvement in a civic sense among the general public. A similar grassroots-level change will go a long way in delivering a true “Atithi Devo Bhava” experience for guests to these destinations.

Schemes launched for tourism sector

The promotion of tourism taken up in mission mode with the active participation of states and public-private partnerships (PPPs) will create another ripple of positivity in fostering the domestic sector’s growth. In addition, other schemes – ‘Dekho Apna Desh’, ‘Swadesh Darshan’ and the idea to set up ‘Unity Malls’ in the state capitals will likely promote tourism in the country.

India offers immense tourist attractions for domestic and international travellers. The sector is yet to unlock a huge potential with untapped opportunities.

Job prospects for youth

Fostering the sector’s growth holds huge opportunities for job creation and entrepreneurship for the youth. Furthermore, the idea of reviving 50 additional airports, helipads, water aero drones, and advanced landing grounds will potentially improve regional air connectivity which will prove to be a highly encouraging step in promoting domestic travel and tourism.

No tax concession measures announced

The Union Budget bids to fuel the sector’s growth, but the industry still expresses mixed feelings as the demands for tax concessions are not addressed by the government. Having said that, if the announced budget is allocated immediately and comes into play, the sector can see the flip side of the coin and move on a growth trajectory.

The writer is the Co-Founder at Alike.io.— creator economy-based platform for travel bookings. He tweets @AshishSidhra @joinalike. Views expressed are personal.

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