Government plans to boost tourism in upcoming budget: Sources

Government sources have said that the Indian government plans to cut down on taxes on travel and tourism and offer more incentive to the sector in the upcoming annual budget. The tourism industry in India is worth more than $210 billion.

The step is being taken with hopes to increase economic development and generation of employment. The country has also recently seen a surge in air travel given that airports are coming up all across the nation. Currently, according to reports, the tourism sector employs more than 40 million people and could potentially add up to 10 million more in the upcoming decade.

Sources have disclosed that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley plans to decrease hotel tariff rates by 28% and reward incentives to private companies.

Hotel industries like Taj and the Oberoi or even airlines like Jet Airways and tour operators like Thomas Cook are all expected to gain from this move. Additionally, domestic travel is now done mostly via online players like MakeMyTrip who will also be affected.

The government is also preparing to increase expenditure on constructing roads for tourist destinations and trains. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also earlier said that plans to invest more in North-Eastern tourism are being ushered in.

Sources: Economic Times, Reuters


Government extends Visa on arrival facility to 150 countries

India is all geared up to raise visa on arrival scheme to 150 countries for tourism development in our country, as proposed in the Budget 2015 by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

In the previous budget also this facility helped in attracting tourists in huge number, said Jaitley. This is considered to be a promising step in order to boost the tourism sector and the ministry gave a welcome nod to this proposal.

“It’s a very positive move. It will remove some of the concerns and apprehensions that tourists as well as operators had as to how this system will work out. We need to understand the schedule which the FM hasn’t announced. Just the fact that they identified 150 countries is a very welcome move,” said Madhavan Menon, MD at Thomas Cook.

The inflow of tourists from overseas has also experienced a hike of 7.1% in 2014 as compared to 2013 due to such tourist friendly policies. The government is going to invest in proper maintenance of heritage sites like Churches and convents in Goa, the Elephanta caves in Mumbai and the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar. It also proposed to increase investment in raising the level of security, amenities and illumination.