Travel Industry applauds Budget’s favourable measures

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The interim Budget of 2024 highlighted the Government’s dedication to revitalising the hospitality sector and nurturing its enduring viability

The interim Budget of 2024 underscored the Government’s commitment to reviving the hospitality sector and fostering its long-term sustainability. By addressing financial challenges, providing regulatory support and investing in infrastructure and human capital, the budget aimed to position the Indian hospitality industry for a resilient and prosperous future. The industry has welcomed the measures aimed at revitalising the economy. 

A few reactions:

The Government of India’s continued focus on domestic tourism in the interim Budget 2024-25 is encouraging. Empowering iconic destinations and local entrepreneurs through interest-free loans and quality ratings will elevate India’s tourism landscape. The projects to enhance connectivity in the country through the development of airports, railways metro lines, ports in our unexplored island including Lakshadweep, and tourism infrastructure, will enhance demand and generate employment.

This is not just a boost for tourism, it’s an investment in India’s potential. We are optimistic about additional futuristic support from the Government in granting infrastructure status to hospitality and tourism, which will help us achieve a long-awaited status. We foresee that this will have a multiplier impact and drive significant investment from the private sector.

KB Kachru, Chairman Emeritus & Principal Advisor, Radisson Hotel Group, South Asia 

The recent interim Union budget brings positive news for the hospitality, travel and tourism sectors. The Government’s initiative to offer interest-free loans signals a welcomed boost for domestic tourism, especially in iconic tourist spots like Bodh Gaya, Ayodhya, Gujarat, Varanasi, and others. Special attention to Lakshadweep promises enhanced tourist infrastructure, making hospitality services more appealing and accessible. This development particularly benefits the middle class, fostering their aspirations to travel and explore. Overall, these measures aim to fortify the tourism industry, contributing to the nation’s economic growth and offering new opportunities for both businesses and travellers.

Nikhil Sharma, Market Managing Director, Eurasia, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

The biggest expectation is to introduce input credit on restaurants and F&B businesses. Organized restaurant players are losing out, and as the chain grows, creating formal employment and business for registered vendors, we are still at a loss. Food is served everywhere, from bus stands to airports, up in the air, or trains. This results in a significant loss for both the government and the industry. The Vitskamats Group, with its extensive presence in the hospitality sector, anticipates positive changes in the budget that will address these concerns and foster the growth of the restaurant and F&B industry in India.

Dr Vikram Kamat, Founder and CMD, The Vitskamats Group 

The Government’s vision and initiatives for the tourism sector is much appreciated. The comprehensive development of tourist centres, especially the iconic ones, will showcase the rich and diverse cultural heritage of India to the world. Added focus on making India a MICE destination particularly after our positive experience in hosting the G20 summit is another welcome move and must be encouraged even through the PPP route. The provision of long-term interest free loans to the states will enable them to upgrade their infrastructure and services and attract more tourists and investments. The focus on island tourism, especially Lakshadweep, will create new opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship, and enhance the connectivity and accessibility of these destinations. We hope that the budget proposals will further boost the growth of the tourism sector.

Vineet Verma, Director, Brigade Hospitality

It is an India first Budget. A confident Budget of a confident Government that focusses on the objective of ensuring that India becomes a 5 trillion-dollar economy by 2025 and a developed nation by 2047. I commend the FM for her unwavering commitment to sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas. I commend especially the increase in infrastructure spending that will have a multiplier effect on our economy. I commend the evident railway corridors, and the one lakh crore fund for research and development and the startup sector. The emphasis on clean energy, technology and digital infrastructure will make India a world leader. This is India’s moment, and this budget is part of a continuous process of making policy that will provide massive opportunities for India and Indians.

Ajay Singh, CMD, SpiceJet and President, ASSOCHAM

It is highly encouraging to note that the Hon’ble Finance Minister has highlighted the significance of tourism as an important driver of our economy to spur employment and GDP. The enhanced focus of the Government for promotion of MICE, religious tourism, iconic tourism centres and domestic tourism will lay the foundation of tourism development in the Amrit Kal and equip the sector to achieve the ambitious target of welcoming 100 million tourists by 2047. The tourism and hospitality sector are also very delighted to hear about the Government’s vision to grant long term financing to states for developing iconic tourism centres. The Government has also reinforced its commitment to the tourism sector through the announcement that tourism projects will be taken up at islands, including Lakshadweep.

This strategic initiative promises a seamless experience for tourists and unlocks tremendous growth avenues for the hospitality sector. By enhancing infrastructure, it aligns with a mission to exceed evolving traveller expectations, making Lakshadweep a premier destination for discerning travellers. This visionary approach transforms the islands into a magnet for tourists, creating new opportunities and propelling the hospitality sector into an era of unparalleled growth within India’s dynamic tourism and hospitality landscape. This expansion of tourism in Lakshadweep is anticipated to generate a substantial number of employment opportunities. As the influx of tourists increases, there will be a corresponding surge in demand for a range of services, including hospitality, catering, transportation, and various other related sectors. 

Pradeep Shetty, President, The Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India

Hon’ble FM Sitharaman’s interim Budget speech underscores a strategic move to reshape India’s MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) landscape by encouraging states to develop iconic tourist centres. The commitment to promoting these centres through long-term interest-free loans signifies a visionary approach, fostering a thriving ecosystem for local entrepreneurs. The recognition of G20 meetings as a showcase of India’s diversity is a powerful endorsement. For the hotel industry, this announcement holds immense promise, turning these tourist centres into magnets for MICE activities. Strategically located and well-equipped, these centres can become hubs for national and international gatherings, boosting demand for accommodation, meeting spaces, and related services.

The ripple effect is undeniable, with hotel occupancy rates set to surge as these centres become focal points for corporate events.The long-term interest-free loans to states provide the financial impetus for seamless development, enhancing the appeal of these centres. This support not only fuels infrastructure growth but also attracts event organisers. Hotels, by aligning with the burgeoning MICE sector and offering top-notch facilities, can position themselves as preferred choices. The budget’s emphasis, therefore, not only transforms MICE activities but also presents a significant opportunity for the hotel industry’s growth and prosperity.”

Kush Kapoor, CEO, Roseate Hotels & Resorts 

We welcome the steps taken to promote the tourism industry, inter-alia, development of iconic tourist centers, long-term interest-free loans to states, enhancement of tourism infrastructure, enhancing port connectivity and amenities in islands, etc. However, these initiatives can flourish with a further reduction in GST rates. Lowering taxes on hotel restaurants and rooms exceeding Rs 7,500 and easing input norms for hotel development would incentivise new and existing players, ultimately expanding the GST base. Additionally, streamlining access to concessional debt for private tourism stakeholders is crucial for unlocking further growth. Let’s make tourism truly soar with a combined focus on infrastructure and rationalised taxes.

Sonica Malhotra Kandhari, Joint Managing Director of MBD Group

The interim Budget presented by the Finance Minister has focussed on tourism with a multipronged approach that we believe will create a multiplier effect across aviation, tourism and allied sectors, boosting growth and employment generation. We welcome the announcements on airport development and expansion: having already doubled to 149 airports in the last decade, the government’s plans to boost air connectivity by the addition of 517 new routes across Tier II-III cities, carrying 1.3 crore passengers via the UDAN scheme, will play a critical role with vibrant hub and spoke air corridors to boost accessibility-affordability for Regional India.Implementation of major rail connectivity corridors via the PM Gati Shakti program together with port and metro/rapid transport expansion will serve to create valuable multi modal connectivity for Tourism.

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We welcome the special focus on domestic tourism which represents a vibrant growth driver via the government’s plan of long-term interest free loans to states; development of iconic tourism centres by states along with marketing on global standards. What was noteworthy is the reference to spiritual tourism and projects for port connectivity, tourism infrastructure and amenities on islands including Lakshdweep – aimed at development of India’s hidden gems and employment opportunities. Further, the strong capex outlay of Rs 11.11 lakh crore, a significant 4 per cent of our GDP, will serve as a catalyst to the country’s growth potential and job creation.

Madhavan Menon, Executive Chairman, Thomas Cook (India) Limited

The recent Budget announcement brings positive news for the tourism and hospitality sector. The development of iconic tourist spots is expected to contribute significantly to the local economy by drawing in visitors, creating job opportunities, and promoting business expansion. This will have a positive impact on numerous local economies. Additionally, the initiative is anticipated to result in enhancements to infrastructure, transportation, and various amenities, providing benefits to both tourists and local residents. An increase in tourism provides opportunities for cultural exchange.

Visitors will engage with local customs, traditions, and arts, fostering a mutual understanding and appreciation of cities like Udaipur’s unique cultural identity. An example of this was the G20 summit, which contributed to a rise in Udaipur tourism. Nevertheless, it is imperative to find a balance between development and the preservation of the spiritual and cultural integrity of the region. Prioritising sustainable and responsible tourism practices is essential to ensure long-term benefits without causing adverse effects on the environment or local communities. We eagerly anticipate the implementation of these initiatives for the advancement of the tourism sector in India.

Somesh Agarwal, Chairman and MD, Radisson Blu Palace Resort & Spa, Udaipur 

The interim Budget presented by Hon’ble Finance Minister has maintained status-quo on direct and indirect taxes thus keeping its impact neutral. The government has set focus on the overall travel and tourism sector via infrastructure development, green energy, sustainability and looked at diverse initiatives for domestic tourism via a strategic approach for each segment – aviation, ports (waterways) and rail to strengthen regional connectivity to Tier II and III cities.We welcome the development on the rapid expansion of air connectivity with the addition of 517 new routes across Regional India’s Tier II and III cities via the UDAN scheme – this will play a key role in strengthening accessibility.

The special focus on strengthening domestic tourism via implementation of rail connectivity corridors under the PM Gati Shakti initiative and upgrading 40,000 regular train boogies into high-speed Vande Bharat trains will definitely strengthen surface transportation.The Government’s plan on focus on spiritual tourism, development of iconic tourist spots and island destinations of India including Lakshadweep (projects for port connectivity, tourism infrastructure, and amenities) will generate employment thus boosting India’s economy. What is noteworthy, is the Government’s mindful move to form a panel to tackle challenges of higher population/over tourism, especially in destinations with sensitive ecosystems.

Vishal Suri, Managing Director, SOTC Travel Limited

The Government’s continued thrust on tourism and focus on addressing some of the structural bottlenecks augur well for hotel demand. Special assistance has been announced to state governments for infrastructure development, through 50-year interest free loans. There are plans for development of iconic tourist centres and framework for rating the same as well. There is focus on enhanced connectivity, through airports, heliports and advance landing grounds. The budget also proposes promotion of coastal shipping to improve access to some destinations.

Availability of requisite information through sector-specific skilling and informative guides would improve tourist experience and facilitate demand growth as well. Further, continued emphasis on ease of doing business will also be beneficial for the industry, considering the pick-up in new supply announcements in the last 15-18 months. The Draft National Data Governance Policy, which aims at data security, has been prepared and is under finalisation. Overall, the proposals in the Union Budget are expected to support the ongoing demand upcycle in the domestic hotel industry.

Shamsher Dewan, Senior Vice President & Group Head – Corporate Ratings, ICRA Limited

As someone deeply involved in the hospitality sector, I can’t help but express my enthusiasm about the Interim Budget for 2024–25, especially its focus on the tourism industry. It’s heartening to see the Government recognising the vast potential of India’s travel destinations. The initiative to create renowned tourist spots and provide states with long-term, interest-free loans is a commendable step.What’s particularly invigorating is the Budget’s emphasis on spiritual tourism, with Ayodhya emerging as a key destination. This increase in investment reflects a growing desire among travellers for destinations that offer not just a journey, but also a deep cultural and spiritual experience.This Budget announcement signals fresh opportunities and responsibilities for us in the hospitality industry.

It’s a call to action for us to enhance our services and amenities, aligning them with international standards. Additionally, the development focus on areas like Lakshadweep opens avenues for tourism growth, employment, and skill development, further bolstering the sector’s progression.In sum, the Interim Budget 2024-25’s spotlight on tourism offers a pivotal chance for the hospitality industry to innovate and grow. It’s a critical moment for us to elevate the sector’s role in shaping India’s economic and cultural narrative.” 

Navneet Nagpal, Principal Consultant and Director, Spectra Hospitality Services

We acknowledge, with satisfaction, the Government’s sustained focus on travel and tourism as reaffirmed in the interim budget. The commitment to bolster domestic tourism through initiatives spanning rail and air travel, coupled with the ongoing emphasis on tourism-led destinations, particularly in the realm of island tourism and spiritual tourism, reflects a strategic vision for the long-term growth of the T&T sector.

The allocation of interest-free loans to state governments for the creation of iconic tourist destinations is a noteworthy step. The expansion of airports and the PM Gati Shakti program are pivotal in enhancing connectivity to previously unexplored regional gems. These initiatives will take domestic discovery to farther reaches of the country, thereby empowering local entrepreneurs and creating employment opportunities.While the specifics are yet to be seen, collaboration between the industry and the Government is key to maximising impact, ensuring quality standards, and fostering sustainable tourism models for an enhanced traveller experience.”

Rajesh Magow, Co-founder & Group CEO, MakeMyTrip

The Government’s decision to invest significantly in the tourism sector, as stated by the Union Finance Minister in the interim Budget, is a welcome step that bodes well for the Indian economy. Coupled with a strong focus on infrastructure development, it will lead to the emergence of new tourism corridors, resulting in greater interest from domestic and international travellers to visit the less explored parts of the country. Mastercard is closely aligned with the government’s vision of tourism contributing USD 1 trillion to India’s GDP by 2047. To support this vision, the company launched its ‘priceless india’ program last year under the guidance of the Ministry of Tourism. It offers exclusively curated experiences around India’s rich history, culture, cuisine, and a lot more to travel enthusiasts from around the globe.

Gautam Aggarwal, Division President, South Asia, Mastercard

The interim Budget marks the culmination of the second term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and lays out the vision for Viksit Bharat 2047. Notably, significant announcements were made for the travel and tourism industry, creating opportunities that will, in turn, open doors for the restaurant sector. Finance Minister Sitharaman highlighted the establishment of a framework for rating tourist centres based on the quality of facilities and services, coupled with the provision of long-term interest-free loans to states for financing such development.

This is poised to generate numerous prospects for employment and entrepreneurship in the tourism and hospitality domain.Anticipating the forthcoming comprehensive and transformative Union Budget in July when the newly elected government will present a detailed roadmap for our pursuit of ‘Viksit Bharat’, there are expectations to address key concerns of the industry. These include the restoration of the GST Input Tax Credit, reinstating the Service Export from India Scheme, establishing a dedicated Food Services Ministry with industry status, reducing GST on eco-friendly materials, addressing GST on commercial rentals, rationalising licences and NOCs, ensuring equitable e-commerce policies, extending operating hours, implementing targeted subsidy schemes for SMEs, and introducing an employee welfare plan.

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Pranav Rungta, Co-founder and Director, Nksha Restaurant and Vice President, NRAI

It is heartening to see the intent to push for tourism and regard this sector as a source of local job creation, domestic tourism, and inbound revenue. Clearly, the call is for Infra development and time will tell how this strategy unfolds. Lakshadweep and Spiritual Tourism have grabbed the fancy with the PM and FM driving focus. We expect good things will happen here. We understand this is an interim budget, however a reduction of the GST to a maximum slab of 12 per cent for rates above INR 7,500 per night would have been a great boost for Indian Tourism in 2024. We would have also liked for the budget to shine a light on heritage tourism and the promotion of Offbeat Destinations which could make use of the lovely roads, telecom/wifi connectivity, and general infra improvement to reach the remote corners of India.

Ramit Sethi, Co-founder, Seclude Hotels Home Style

Interim Budget 2024 paints an optimistic picture for India’s aviation and tourism sectors. The significant increase in the number of airports to 149 over the last decade and the targeted expansion of existing airports highlights the government’s dedication to fostering growth in aviation. With orders for over 1,000 new aircraft, conducive policies for leasing the sector are ready to address the demand.Furthermore, the Government’s attention to tourism projects in islands, including Lakshadweep, opens up exciting possibilities for both sectors. There’s substantial potential in promoting tourism, especially spiritual tourism, and encouraging states to develop iconic tourist spots and launch new airlines on those routes is a welcome start. The escalating aspirations of the middle class to travel and explore align with the broader vision for the industry.

Jaideep Mirchandani, Chairman, Sky One, Sharjah

The G20 conferences held in India have significantly contributed to the growth of the travel and tourism sector within the country. This has not only elevated India’s status as a prominent global tourist destination but has also proven to be a boon for the industry. The recent interim budget announcement by Finance Minister Sitharaman underscores a proactive approach, urging states to embark on the comprehensive development of iconic tourist centres.

The strategy involves branding and marketing these centres on a global scale. Sitharaman emphasised the establishment of a framework for rating these centres based on the quality of facilities and services. Additionally, she highlighted the provision of long-term interest-free loans to states to facilitate the financing of such developmental initiatives. As anticipation builds for the upcoming Union Budget to be presented by the new government, it is noteworthy to acknowledge the substantial support the Finance Minister has provided to the tourism industry over the past six years.

Saurabh Gahoi, Vice President, India, Ramee Group of Hotels 

As the network via road, rail, airport, and highway increases, it opens up opportunities for more travel, which creates a domino effect over the food and beverage industry as well. With developments like these and spiritual tourism coming up, the scope for established as well as new food brands has increased. The Hon’ble Finance Minister’s announcement to develop infrastructure across the country is a welcome step for everyone related to the F&B industry. The international and domestic brands will get a chance to penetrate more nationwide, also giving a great employment opportunity.”

Simranjeet Singh,Director, CYK Hospitalities

The 2024 Union Budget holds promising implications for our industry, with a commendable focus on uplifting marginalised sections and promoting tourism. Prioritising the gareeb (poor), mahilayein (women), yuva (youth), and annadata (farmers) reflect an inclusive growth approach, ensuring equitable distribution of tourism-related benefits.

The commitment to developing iconic tourist centres and global marketing is a positive step that can significantly boost tourist influx, benefitting hotels and hospitality establishments nationwide. The ongoing expansion of airports over the past decade has enhanced infrastructure for the aviation and tourism sectors, improving connectivity for domestic and international tourists. This not only makes travel more accessible but also creates new opportunities for growth and expansion within the hospitality sector. Overall, the 2024 budget aligns well with the industry’s needs, paving the way for a more inclusive, connected, and prosperous future.

Sibasish Mishra, Founder and CEO, Bookingjini

Tourism cannot grow without investment. We welcome the government’s initiatives on developing iconic tourist centres and investing in tourism and connectivity infrastructure. Measures such as long term loans to states will foster long term development and unlock India’s tourism potential. We hope for more measures from the government that continue to build our air infrastructure and hospitality sector. This development will not just invite the world to explore our heritage but also ignite local economies and our pride!

Chirag Agrawal, Co-Founder, TravClan

We applaud the forward-thinking measures outlined in Union Budget 2024, particularly the interest-free loans for states to enhance their tourism hubs, attract business and create entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for locals.The proposed port connectivity and infrastructure improvements for island and other attractive location accessibility in the country will motivate families and young tourists to opt for domestic travel. This step will further strengthen the hospitality industry and travel and tourism sector will grow rapidly in the country.Overall, being an interim budget, Union Budget 2024 was balanced and I expect the recommendations made for direct and indirect taxes will empower the middle class to spend the money on leisure and travel more.

Davinder Juj, General Manager, Eros Hotel New Delhi

I’m thrilled by the Government’s proactive measures to bolster the tourism sector, particularly the initiative to offer long-term interest-free loans for the promotion of iconic tourist centres. This progressive approach underscores a commitment to showcasing India’s rich cultural and natural heritage on a global stage.Furthermore, the Government’s emphasis on integrating green energy initiatives within the tourism industry is a significant stride towards sustainability. At Dharana, we believe in embracing this initiative, aligning with our ethos of environmental stewardship.

By harnessing renewable energy sources and implementing eco-friendly practices, we aim to minimise our environmental footprint while offering guests transformative wellness experiences amidst nature. This concerted effort signifies a progressive shift towards sustainable tourism, where economic growth harmonises with environmental conservation. Together, let’s embark on a journey towards a greener, more resilient tourism industry—one that not only enriches the lives of travellers but also safeguards the beauty of our planet for generations to come.

Srikant Peri, General Manager, Dharana at Shillim

We celebrate the visionary steps taken in the interim Union Budget 2024 by FM Sitharaman, maintaining tax stability for a robust economic environment. The laudable commitment to boost domestic and inbound tourism through island projects and Metro Rail expansion is noteworthy. With the inauguration of the Ram Mandir, emphasis on ‘Wed in India,’ and ‘Vocal for Local,’ the government passionately promotes domestic tourism, aligning with PM Modi’s vision. The announcement of 149 airport expansions will significantly enhance domestic travel.

FM Sitharaman’s foresight promises a golden era of unprecedented development in our nation over the next five years. Furthermore, by prioritising the empowerment of youth and enhancing digital, social, and physical infrastructure, the Government is actively encouraging the younger generation to play a pivotal role in the country’s growth and contribute significantly to the GDP. FM Sitharaman’s holistic approach ensures that our youth becomes an integral force in shaping the prosperous future of our nation.

Naveen Nahar, Partner, Travelz Factorry

In order to catalyse the growth of the hospitality sector and bolster tourism, it is imperative for the Government to extend leniency in tax policies and allocate a substantial budget towards the development of infrastructure, enhancing guest experiences, and elevating the standards of hotels. Adopting visa-free or on-arrival policies, as many countries have done, will make us more competitive in the global tourism market.Furthermore, a significant increase in budget allocation for Leave Travel Allowance (LTA) is crucial. This not only benefits the staff but also serves as a catalyst for domestic tourism. The government should actively promote and invest in initiatives that encourage domestic travel, tapping into the potential of a burgeoning economy and a youthful population.

To facilitate the growth of hotels and resorts, the loan process should be streamlined, ensuring easy access to funds that enhance cash flow and property development. Addressing the high operational costs and providing tax relaxations will alleviate financial burdens on the hospitality industry, ultimately contributing to a more competitive and thriving sector.

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Recognising the current economic landscape, where guest spending capacity is hampered by inflation, it becomes imperative to offer tax relief to boost spending on travel. With a growing economy and increasing incomes, Indians are poised to spend more on travel. Leveraging social media as a powerful tool for marketing and promotion, India is set to become the 4th highest spender by 2030, spending an estimated $410 billion.

These measures outlined in the post-budget disclosure are essential for positioning India as a premier destination for global and domestic tourists alike, ensuring sustained growth and prosperity in the hospitality sector.

Priyanka Sharma, Revenue Manager, Clarks Exotica Convention Resort & Spa

The interim Budget 2024 will bring growth in the medical tourism sector. The pledge to enhance iconic tourist centres not only beckons global explorers but also holds promise for the burgeoning medical tourism sector. With 40,000 rail bogies transforming to Vande Bharat standards and an expansion of airports to 149, connectivity becomes the heartbeat of accessible healthcare. This leap in infrastructure aligns seamlessly with the needs of overseas patients, facilitating smoother transitions for pre-treatment arrangements and post-treatment rehabilitation. The budget’s wings extend beyond tourism, fostering a health-centric global connectivity. In addition to this, the latest Middle East-Europe-India corridor will also help in expanding Indian healthcare tourism and consulting facilities to overseas markets as well.

Rajeev Taneja, Founder, GlobalCare

As expected, this year’s budget puts a strong emphasis on domestic tourism, and we truly applaud this move. The commitment to providing interest-free loans to states for enhancing tourism within their borders is a positive step to boost domestic tourism in the country. There are many offbeat destinations within India that are unique and one of a kind, so Government’s pledge for the comprehensive development of tourist centres, with a focus on branding and global-scale marketing, is another welcome move. This will undoubtedly pave the way for transformative growth in the travel and tourism sector, enabling us to showcase the incredible diversity and richness of our nation to the world.

Sandeep Arora, Director, Brightsun Travel

The interim Budget has huge opportunities for spiritual tourism in India, this is very much positive news for any tourism sector in India, this will definitely support local entrepreneurship, and startups getting extended tax benefits for expanding spiritual tourism is surely a great news for us. We, at My Tirth India, feel that this is a euphoria that was long due, this is a payback to our forefathers who have created such beautiful temples and structures in India and now it is the time for us to visit our old heritage temples and structures and start rediscovering India with My Tirth India.

The Government’s emphasis on the comprehensive development of iconic tourist centres with global branding aligns seamlessly with Clarks Exotica’s commitment to delivering unique and culturally immersive guest experiences.

I see promise in the proposed projects for port connectivity, tourism infrastructure, and amenities in the islands, particularly Lakshadweep. He notes the potential for these initiatives to enhance destination allure and act as catalysts for significant employment generation within the hospitality sector. Anticipating heightened demand for accommodation and services, Bhat envisions a positive upswing for the industry. The Finance Minister’s targetted approach to elevate tourism in islands, notably Lakshadweep, needs specific commendation. The need to navigate challenges such as sustainable development and infrastructure requirements, emphasising prudent planning and collaboration between the government and private sector entities like Clarks Exotica.

I acknowledge the Finance Minister’s recognition of opportunities for local entrepreneurship, including in spiritual tourism. I am confident that local businesses and entrepreneurs within the hospitality sector are poised to play a pivotal role in showcasing indigenous experiences, promising not only a substantial economic impact but also fostering community engagement and sustainable tourism practices. In conclusion, as observed by Ramachandra Bhat, the Finance Minister’s forward-thinking proposals are poised to usher in positive transformations for the hospitality sector’s future, aligning well with Clarks Exotica’s commitment to excellence and unique guest experiences.

Indraneel Dasgupta, Managing Director and Founder, My Tirth India

The infrastructural support extended in the current budget (across air, water, railways and roads) will be an essential boon for tourism. In addition to this, I believe that promoting ‘Destination India’ would require us to look holistically at ensuring that our country can sustainably manage an uptick in tourism. This includes prioritising the wellbeing of native communities, protecting heritage sites, preserving natural ecosystems and promoting circular economies to secure responsible consumption and production chains.

While advocating the promotion of iconic destinations, we can also look at increasing access to remote areas of the country where travellers can seek out unique experiences. I would also urge each of us to work collectively to mitigate the impact of tourism on people and the planet in accordance with global sustainability benchmarks. This can be done through various macro and micro initiatives in collaboration with public, private and non-governmental organisations across the industry.

Shruti Shibulal, CEO and Director, Tamara Leisure Experiences 

As the Finance Minister charts the course for India’s economic future in the interim budget 2024, JetSetGo stands in harmony, sharing a vision of ‘Reform, Perform, and Transform.’ Aligned with the government’s forward-looking initiatives, we celebrate the doubling of airports to 149, enabling private aviation companies like ours to extend our reach and serve as a vital link for India’s economic leaders, entrepreneurs, and decision-makers.

The expansion of airport infrastructure complements our commitment to efficient time management and personalized services, ensuring a seamless travel experience. We are enthused by the focus on enhancing tourism infrastructure on islands, recognizing the unique appeal of private jets for reaching offbeat destinations. Emphasizing urban mobility, the Finance Minister’s vision paves the way for growth in the aviation sector.

The broader emphasis on infrastructure development and increased spending, coupled with the optimistic outlook for India in the global aviation market, solidify our confidence in the growth story. JetSetGo stands aligned with this vision, having already established strategic partnerships with aircraft technology companies to introduce Advanced Air Mobility solutions, enhancing regional connectivity and contributing to India’s dynamic aviation landscape.

Kanika Tekriwal, Founder, JetSetGo

The travel and tourism sector serves as a crucial economic driver for India, and this year’s budget underscores the commitment to fostering its growth and development. The emphasis on encouraging states to invest in and enhance iconic tourist spots is a strategic move poised to impact foreign receipts, thereby significantly creating more employment opportunities.The Government’s fast-track development and investments in airport infrastructure and road connectivity projects will play a pivotal role in boosting connectivity. This, in turn, is expected to result in a substantial increase in the number of inbound travelers, further solidifying India as one of the most sought-after destinations among global travelers.

Moreover, announcing the port connectivity, including in places like Lakshadweep, will open up additional gateways for travellers, unlocking more avenues to explore the diverse offerings of our incredible nation. Additionally, the focus on spiritual tourism is poised to contribute immensely to the industry’s tremendous growth, ultimately bolstering the overall economic progress of India.

Shikhar Aggarwal, Joint Managing Director, BLS International

It is encouraging to see that the Hon’ble Finance Minister’s statement aligns with the strategic objective of growing the country’s infrastructure and tourism industry. The introduction of a novel system for classifying tourist locations according to amenities and infrastructure charts a revolutionary new direction and gives them a competitive advantage in the global marketplace. India’s appeal to foreign tourists is enhanced by its dedication to the comprehensive development of famous tourist destinations, with a focus on captivating locations such as Lakshadweep. The budget places significant focus on advancing green growth by introducing biomanufacturing and foundry initiatives, indicating a proactive stance. 

As the Finance Minister pointed out, the country’s major train infrastructure projects are expanding due to the boost in economic strength, which also drives conference and business travel. The exponential increase in airports over the last ten years is evidence of India’s dedication to accessibility and connectivity. It is heartening that this budget essentially lays out a revolutionary route that combines robust infrastructure development, sustainable tourism, and economic dynamism and will also boost adventure tourism in India

Rama Mahendru, Country General Manager- India, Intrepid Travel

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