Tourism Breaking News

Hospitality has been neglected: HAI

J.K. Mohanty, Hony. Secretary, Hotel Association of India (HAI) says,” We welcome the Govt. of India’s decision to increase the budget for tourism promotion from 575 crores in 2019 to 2500 crores and Rs.3150 crore for the promotion of Culture in place of INR 875.33 crore sanctioned in last year’s budget. Further, grant of INR 1.7 lakh crore to the transport infrastructure sector would definitely have positive impact in tourism sector. However, hospitality seems to have been neglected once more. Among our demands, the top beings  Hotels under infrastructure status,  has not been considered nor has it been declared as a priority sector for getting long term loans.

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Outbound to become more expensive: TAFI

Pradip Lulla, Acting president and Vice President, Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI), says, “The budget proposal to allocate 1.7 lakh crores with more faster Tejas type trains; better roads like Delhi Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru expressway; development of 5 iconic tourist centres and renovation of 4 museums; are welcome. Further reduction in direct taxes on individuals will create disposable income to spend on tourism. The deficit increasing to 3.8% would weaken the rupee and make outbound more expensive.”

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No direct benefit to hospitality: FHRAI

Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President, Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI), says, “The appeal for further reduction of GST and infrastructure status for hospitality remains still in the wish list.  Neighboring countries continue to have the advantage of a lower GST, while hospitality industry which is a major facilitator of jobs in India remains at a disadvantage. Single window clearances for hospitality projects remain a pipe dream, even as hotels continue to face challenging situations. The only positive lies in allocations to build infrastructure wherein 100 more airports will be developed by 2024, roads will be built and new trains and tracks will facilitate connectivity to tourist destinations, which may help draw in more business.”

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Not satisfactory for the industry: TAAI

Jyoti Mayal, President, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), claims that there was nothing great about the budget. She says, “The Government has just increased the allocation for tourism and they are investing in heritage and culture, which is very good. Of course they should be doing that because these monuments need to be maintained. The Government has picked up some states where they will be developing iconic sites. Apart from that there is nothing great about the budget. It’s just that the money has been increased, which is anyways allocated every year. There was no mention of GST for tourism and no corpus created separately for investment, which we had recommended. Overall it was a normal budget with many things done for growth and infrastructure within the country. They are doing good for railways, but not much for the growth of the industry. I am not satisfied.”

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We expected more: OTOAI

Riaz Munshi, President, OTOAI, said that this was a fairly disappointing budget in perspective of outbound tourism from India. Looking at the significant growth in number outbound tourists from in last few years, we expected more from the government apart from relief in GST for outbound tourism. One welcome step to cheer for is the announcement to develop 100 more airports and expected rise in the air fleet to 1200 aircraft by 2024. I think, the increased number of airports in the country will give boost to outbound travel and number of flights to more destinations.

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An encouraging budget for inbound tourism: IATO

Rajiv Mehra, Vice President, Indian Association of Tour Operators, (IATO), has said it’s encouraging that the Finance Minister spoke at length about tourism this time in the Budget. “She made a number of announcements including a hike in the Budget for tourism promotion by allocating Rs 2500 crore, making 100 more airports operational by 2024 and doubling the aircraft fleet to 1200. Most importantly, I am happy that the government announced more Tejas-like trains to iconic tourist destinations, which has been IATO’s demand and it will certainly boost tourism. The state governments will also have to play a major role in promoting tourism since the Centre will now provide grants if they develop a roadmap and financial plans for certain identified destinations. As far as road connectivity is concerned, which will benefit us, in the long run, is the introduction of the Chennai-Bengaluru and Delhi-Mumbai expressway, which would be ready by 2023,” he adds. 

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Government could have done much more: FAITH

Subhash Goyal, Secretary General, Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH), has said that they are not very happy with the budget. “We are a little disappointed. The Government could have done many more positive things. The additional allocation of budget for tourism was a great move, along with 550 stations to be provided with Wi-fi. While all these things are good, there has nothing been done about coastal areas. We have 7500km of coastline, and some allocation of funds should have been done for that. Even island tourism or river tourism could be focused on. Most important thing is that foreign airlines should be allowed to operate, open sky policy should be there and ATF price has to be reduced. All these things have to be done to double the number of inbound tourism. This is the way we generate millions of jobs. It’s a good budget for startups and for the people in lower or middle class bracket. But nothing has been done to give a boost to tourism. What we want is that Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism should be give equal status as physical exports and considered as export of services. Since our services are exported, we need similar benefits from the Government as well. It will give some boost and will certainly double the numbers,” he says.

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Finance Minister announces Union Budget for 2020-21; Tourism Ministry gets Rs 2,500 crore

Announcing the Union Budget for year 2020-21, the Union Minister for Finance, Nirmala Sitharaman, has allocated Rs 2,500 crore for promotion of tourism in the country, increasing the Budget for tourism by 14.19 per cent from last year. In her speech, she also said the state governments are expected to develop a roadmap for certain identified tourist destinations and formulate financial plans during the year, against which specific grants will be made available for them by the Central government during 2020-21. ·    Rs 2500 crore for Tourism; Last year, 2189.22 crore were allocated. ·         Five archaeological sites, Rakhigarhi, Haryana, Hastinapur, UP, Shivsagar, Assam, Dholavira, Gujarat, Adichanallur, Tamil Nadu to be developed into iconic sites with onsite museums. ·         More Tejas like trains to connect iconic tourist destinations and heritage centres. ·         100 more airports to developed by 2024. Air fleet expected to rise up to 1200 by 2024 from current 600. ·         Rs 1.7 lakh crore for transport infrastructure, Rs 900 crore allocated for roads to key heritage sites. ·         Delhi- Mumbai expressway to be completed by 2023, Chennai- Bengaluru expressway to be launched.

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WHO declares global health emergency on Coronavirus outbreak; 43 airlines cancel flights

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern as the number of cases reported a rise in more countries. As many as 43 airlines have already begun pre-emptively cancelling or reducing flights to China. The reasoning for doing so is a mix of reduced demand for visitors and fear of virus spreading. European, American, and some Asian airlines largely make up the list of those reducing service or cancelling flights to mainland China outright under the virus is under control. Beijing and Shanghai are most affected including flights to Hong Kong also facing the heat. The cancellations are extended on some airlines to as far away as the end of March. WHO said that it is expected that further international exportation of cases may appear in any country. Thus, all countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of the onward spread of the virus.

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Locals banned from entering casinos in Goa from today

The Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has announced a ban on ‘domiciled Goans’ from entering casinos (both offshore & onshore) and placing bets in the state from February 1 and said a mechanism to enforce the restriction will be framed soon. “All Goans will be banned from entering casinos for playing purposes from February 1. They can continue to work in the industry but will not be allowed to gamble. The Commercial Tax Commissioner will be appointed a Gaming Commissioner, who will enforce the ban. The authority will have the powers to check if any local Goan is gambling. The Gaming Commission will be given the powers to formulate rules and regulations for the industry,” told the CM in Panaji.  There are currently six offshore and nine onshore casinos operating in Goa.

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