It is the Big B, which we all wait for on the last day of February. Placed carefully in a briefcase, the Budget unfolds itself through the voice of the country’s finance minister. This year was no exception. Every year, the tourism stakeholders live on the hope that on one such day their proposals will be accepted, with an aim to gain some impetus for their trade and business.
If viewed from the inbound tourism lens, the Union Budget 2016 did prove to be a disappointment. As the spokesperson of FAITH puts it, there was nothing for tourism in it. For the past six months, FAITH was in touch with various government officials with a hope that the service tax on foreign tourists would be pulled back, to boost inbound tourism, but the appeal probably fell on deaf ears.
Budget 2016, has received mixed reactions from the travel trade fraternity. Though major announcements relating to the travel and tourism sector were expected by the industry, the Budget focused on development of roads, highways and ports. A total amount of Rs 97,000 crore will be spent on roads and highways, improving domestic road connectivity. The government will also implement a series of measures to modernise ports. These developments will indirectly benefit tourism in the long run. However, the rise in ATF prices, will cause a ripple in the aviation sector.
The Association of Domestic Tour Operators (ADTOI), who have stayed rather passive for a long time have announced their annual convention, scheduled to be held in Khajuraho, MP, from April 8 -10, 2016, with a clear objective to rejuvenate the potential of domestic tourism of the country. The convention aims to focus on the opportunities that this sector brings to the business of tourism and the country in general. Meanwhile, the Outbound Tours Operators Association (OTOAI), are also all set to hold their second convention in Bali after a gap of two years. The team is clear in its agenda, giving out a strong message that the business scenario has changed and the way of doing business also needs to change with time.
As for our cover story this issue, Express TravelWorld salutes ten empowered women, not just in tourism but also in allied tourism services for making a mark in this industry with their indomitable spirit.