Ahead of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement of the First Budget, India travel services companies, issued the following statements with regard to pre-budget expectations:
Mahesh Iyer, Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.
“The travel and tourism industry is a crucial contributor to the growth of the Indian economy with a powerful multiplier impact on employment generation and we are hence confident that the Union Budget introduced by the government will strengthen the industry with continuity of its tourism friendly policies to give fillip to India’s Inbound, Domestic and MICE segments. We look forward to increased focus and sustained delivery on key initiatives like UDAN aimed at enhancing the regional connectivity and affordable air travel, Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY), integrated development of pilgrimage destinations through Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (PRASAD), increased allocation towards enhancement of the e-Visa initiative to include additional countries, development of new tourism circuits and attractions, along with increased focus on infrastructure – roads, railways, airports, waterways and sanitation to catalyze growth.
“Given the recent developments and challenges faced by the aviation sector, we believe there is an urgent need for a holistic view and corrective measures to be taken in the interest of the larger tourism, hospitality and business environment.
“Our wish list also includes clarifying the issue of Air Travel Agent being subject to Tax Collection at Source. The amendment of the proviso to section 16(2) in claiming input tax credit on the tax charged by the airline will also help in providing for the specific scenario of payment made by corporates or registered passengers to a travel operator. And finally by focusing on Corporate Tax for the FY 2019-20, we look forward to a reduced corporate tax structure of 25% across the board.”
Mr. Indiver Rastogi, President & Group Head – Global Business Travel – Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.
Corporate Travel and Aviation
“The Indian aviation industry is on a high growth trajectory and is poised to become the third largest air travel market by 2024-2025. We are confident that given the strong contribution of the aviation industry and allied sectors to the economy, the Union Budget will look favorably on aviation sector and will address the challenges related to complex policies, aggressive price cuts; multi-tiered tax system and infrastructure to facilitate accelerate growth of the industry.
“With the reduction in ATF (Aviation Turbine Fuel) cost by 14.7%, the government has shown its will to support the industry. For the upcoming budget our wish list includes reduction or removal of the GST on the import of aircraft and spare parts, passenger compensation like hotel stays by Low Cost Carriers (LCCs) in case of delay beyond 4 hours or cancellation of flights, a check on the practice of arbitrary fare increases due to unforeseen incidents/events and the provision of tax sops or benefits to Travel Management Companies – as travel and related services pose as the highest taxed items.”
Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.
“The Travel and Tourism industry is one of the key contributors to the Indian economy. We are hopeful that the implementation of the Union Budget 2019 in conjunction with plans to increase tax exemptions for the middle class will boost the tourism sector in India. We also believe that focus on increasing allocation towards development of new tourism circuits and attractions, along with improvement of infrastructure in terms of roads, railways, airports, waterways and sanitation will catalyze growth.
“Moreover, apart from mainstream travel, Indian travelers are showing a preference towards cruise tourism; and with cruise terminals opening up across the country, we hope for focus via the Union Budget and a robust policy framework for cruise tourism.
“Tax rebates will result in rise in disposable incomes and hence create increased opportunities for travel thereby giving fillip to the Travel and Tourism sector at large.
“India’s rail network also needs to be harnessed to drive India’s tourism potential and here too we look forward to seeing the Union Budget deliver in terms of strategic initiatives and outlay.
Mr. Dipak Deva, Managing Director, TCI (Travel Corporation India)
Budget Expectations: Union Budget
“The travel and tourism industry is a crucial contributor to the growth of the Indian economy and continues to grow exponentially with inbound tourism forming a significant part. The Union Budget 2019 looks promising and we are hopeful that its integration will boost inbound tourism further having a cascading impact on the overall industry. Our wish list includes waiving off tourist visa fee to encourage international travelers to visit India. Investment in marketing spends to initiate global campaigns to promote Incredible India campaign and showcase the best of our country globally in addition to sufficient impetus through social media will also work a great deal in placing India firmly on the international tourist radar. Also, reduction in GST to 18% will further encourage travelers to visit the country. Efficient execution of the tourism policies to improve the tourism related infrastructure will make the country a preferred destination for foreign travelers.”
Budget Expectations: Railway Budget
“The travel and tourism industry is a crucial contributor to the growth of the Indian economy and continues to grow exponentially with inbound tourism forming a significant part. The Union Budget 2019 looks promising and we are hopeful that its integration will boost inbound tourism further having a cascading impact on the overall industry. We however recommend the introduction of more trains for better transportation and to ease connectivity with rural India. Increased focus on the infrastructure in terms of roads, railways, airports, waterways and sanitation will also bolster the industry by catalyzing growth.”