The Hotel and Restaurant Association(Western India) recently organised a seminar on tax budgets and updates in the 2018/19 Union Budget. The speaker was Anil Harish, an expert in tax matters and the seminar was attended by many prominent authorities of the hospitality industry.
Though their demands for tourism have not been met and no additional investment expenditure for the sector has been announced, the tourism and hospitality sector hopes that the Budget proposal to develop 10 prominent sites as iconic tourist destinations and creation of frameworks to encourage investment in sea plane activities will attract more investments in this sector.
Speaking to Express Travel world, Anil Harish, says, “ When it comes to aviation and railways, the government has taken effective steps. Also, the government has become very strict when it comes to black money which is keeping everyone on their toes. But the concept of smart cities has been surfacing the rounds for a long time. Execution is missing in this matter.”
Commenting on what can be further done to boost tourism, Harish says, “I had recently gone to the U.S by flight and one of the passengers had to get down at a stopover. The flight landed and it took less then five minutes to drop that passenger and take off towards the main destination. In Israel, just opposite the airport, there is a range of shopping malls and hotels available. Such amenities should be started in India to boost tourism as providing the utmost convenience to the tourists is our first priority. We can even concentrate on smaller cities like Nashik and Shirdi by building airports there as they welcome thousands of tourists every year.”
Gurbir Bedi, director, Hotel Diplomat, adds, “When the international traveller thinks of coming to India, he/she is unable to set out a particular budget or cost of his/her travel as the tax rates differ from hotel to hotel from room to room. Even the visa cost is expensive. In other countries, the tax model is uniform throughout no matter where you stay. When demonetisation happened in India, Thailand noticed the drop in sales and within three days, they came out with a strategy that made the visa free for Indian tourists. It is necessary to be prompt and alert and act within the stipulated time.”
Shail Barot, international business development director, VieHospitality, further states, “Lesser known places like the cities of North east should be assigned as destinations for holistic development. This will open up the rest of the country to tourists from all over the world. Taking a cue from Kerala, each state should invest in marketing their culture and traditions to the world. This will boost international tourism to India to a great extent.”