FAITH, the policy federation of all the national associations representing the complete tourism, travel and hospitality industry of India (ADTOI, ATOAI, FHRAI, HAI, IATO, ICPB, IHHA, ITTA, TAAI, TAFI) and cause partner AIRDA was looking forward to the Union Budget for 2021-22 with great expectations.
Budget2021: Lacks Immediate Support
“Lack of immediate direct support in budget has disappointed the Indian travel and tourism industry,” stated Nakul Anand, Chairman-FAITH.
The union budget laid out budget proposals for enhancing rail, road, ports, Metro Lite infrastructure and Public, Private Partnership (PPP) in buses, airports and ports including vista coaches in tourist routes.
“These infrastructure measures may boost tourism over a long term but only once they are implemented. The measures to change the small companies capitalisation and turnover and support to single person company may boost the micro and small tourism entrepreneurs in boosting their organised state. However, the new agriculture infra cess will be a further dampner,” FAITH said.
The tourism, travel and hospitality industry said it was however looking at support for immediate and short-term measures for critical revival. This has not happened in the budget announcements.
“While infrastructure measure announced as budget announcements, may boost tourism over long term, the opportunity for immediate support has regretfully been missed out, ”Nakul Anand, Chairman, FAITH said.
To ensure that there was an immediate national common tourism vision and revival action plan, post COVID across the centre and state, FAITH had proposed the creation of a National Tourism Council of Chief Ministers headed by the PM along with tourism minister.
“There was an immediate need for common industry status across the country for the complete tourism industry by putting it in the concurrent list to organise the industry and make them post COVID ready,” FAITH said.
To ensure that the export potential of Indian Tourism would have been realised post-COVID tourism industry should have been fully recognised at par with merchandise exports, export earnings from tourism should have been made tax free and also incidence of taxes in tourism earnings should have been zero-rated.
Service Exports from India Scheme or SEIS of 10% to all foreign exchange earning members in tourism should have been made applicable for 5 years to ensure a post-COVID recovery. The SEIS for 2020-2021 should have been released immediately, FAITH said.
The industry umbrella added that a Global Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions or MICE Bidding Fund was required to have been setup with ₹ 500 crore to restart immediately and double India’s MICE share.
“To communicate a tourism ready India, Indian missions abroad in each country should have been activated with tourism resources for maximum reach. There was a need of Corpus of least ₹ 2,500 crore for global branding budget to enable Sub-Branding of three tourism segments Indian MICE, Indian adventure, Indian Heritage under the Incredible India main brand to enhance each of these verticals’ global outreach,” FAITH said.
In a post-COVID world to ensure that tourism industry would have become a mainstay domestic industry. FAITH said there was required an income tax exemption on travelling within India income tax credits for upto ₹ 1.5 lakh when spending with GST registered domestic tour operators, travel agents, hoteliers and transporters anywhere within the country.
“To generate post-COVID corporate travel resumption it was required to incentive Indian corporates to undertake domestic MICE by offering a 200% weighted income tax expense. A Natural and Cultural Heritage Restoration Fund should have been set up with a corpus of at least ₹ 2,000 crores which would have restarted tourism post-COVID and encouraged sustainable and responsible development around each vertical of adventure tourism and cultural tourism,” FAITH said.
Post-COVID, there was a requirement for a truly seamless tourist transportation experience by standardising all tourism transportation taxes making them payable at a single point which will facilitate the ease of doing business, it said.