Updated January 29th, 2024 at 00:39 IST
Domestic Tourism to Get a Boost as Govt Turns Focus on Lakshadweep
Travel and tourism, one of the crucial economic drivers, contributes around 5.8% to India's GDP and the government has aimed to reach USD 1 trillion by 2047.
- 4 min read
New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is all set to present the last budget of the Narendra Modi government 2.0 in the Parliament on February 1st. The finance minister will raise the curtain from the Interim Budget for the fiscal year 2024-2025.
No major policy changes are expected from the Interim Budget, but the travel and tourism sector is expected to remain on the Union government’s focus. Travel and tourism, one of the crucial economic drivers, contributes around 5.8% to India's GDP and the government has aimed to reach USD 1 trillion by 2047.
Tourism sector is projected to contribute USD 250 billion to India's GDP by 2030
Report suggests that the tourism sector is projected to contribute USD 250 billion to the country's GDP by 2030, resulting in generation of employment for 137 million individuals. Ahead of the Interim Budget, the travel and tourism industry is expecting certain provisions for it from the government.
It is being said that there are possibilities of a special announcement regarding tourism in the interim budget. There can also be big announcements for the promotion of tourism on the Indian islands.
Expectations are high that the finance minister can announce schemes encouraging domestic tourism to offset the impact of international travel restrictions. This may include incentives for hotels, resorts, and travel agencies that ensure to promote local destinations.
Budgetary support is also anticipated to integrate advanced technologies in the travel sector. In addition to it, investments in digital platforms, contactless services, and smart tourism initiatives.
With the amount allocated by the government in the upcoming budget, Lakshadweep can be rejuvenated and attract more and more tourists. There are preparations to build a big and strong infrastructure related to this.
Along with tourism infrastructure development in Lakshadweep, the government will also focus on Andaman-Nicobar. New cottage houses, resorts, guest houses are likely to be developed. Also, separate announcements can be made in the budget for coastal transportation. The government aims to provide such an infrastructure, so that jetties or other means can be immediately available to people in these areas to go from the nearest airport to the place of choice.
Focus to be on Lakshadweep
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Lakshadweep as an effort to push tourism on the island, it is being expected that big announcements can also be made for Lakshadweep in the interim budget. Last year, an allocation of Rs 1394.7 crore was made for Lakshadweep in the budget. Of which, a major portion of Rs 438 crore was allocated only for the purpose of developing new means of transportation and further development of the existing system. Not only this, separate funds were also allocated for the development of tourism.
According to sources, feasibility check work has almost been completed in all the areas on the island and the work to bring it to the ground is about to be initiated. Schemes can also be introduced for the businessmen building hotels and other infrastructures to boost tourism on the island.
Visa-free entry recommended for top source countries
In order to boost the sector, a visa-free entry for tourists from top source countries and allocation of funds with respect to MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) tourism has been recommended. Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director of Informa Markets in India, said, "As we stand on the brink of Union Budget 2024, the travel and tourism sector emerges as a dynamic force. With a remarkable 44% YoY increase in the demand of skilled workers, this sector is a robust employment generator. To position India as a global leader in the tourism market, we recommend implementing visa-free entry for tourists from top fifteen source countries. This strategic move can significantly boost foreign tourist arrivals, benefiting the entire tourism value chain and increasing job creation.”
“Furthermore, acknowledging the pivotal role of MICE tourism, it is emphasized that MICE is growing at a rate of nearly 20% per year, and with significant investments flowing in from leading global tourism agencies, India will soon become a prominent MICE destination. Moreover, the MICE tourism market size is expected to reach $13.4 billion USD by 2031. To strengthen MICE tourism, the budget should allocate funds for promoting eco-friendly accommodations and tourist sites,” Mudras added.
Published January 29th, 2024 at 00:39 IST