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OPINION | Massive Potential in Tourism Industry, Budget Allocations to Boost Sector, Economy

The allocation of Rs 1,48,528 crore to bring state-of-the-art facilities such as WiFi and CCTVs for the Indian Railways is a welcome move.

Deep Kalra |

Updated:February 2, 2018, 11:39 AM IST
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OPINION | Massive Potential in Tourism Industry, Budget Allocations to Boost Sector, Economy
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The first Union Budget after the July 1 GST implementation and the last full-fledged Budget of the NDA government before it goes to polls is indeed a historic one and full of opportunities and I would like to congratulate the Union Minister of Finance, for presenting some landmark announcements.

Despite its massive potential, tourism is treated as a nice ancillary and not a core industry that can be an engine for growth with employment.

Travel and tourism is an important economic activity that has significant direct, indirect and induced impact on the country’s economy. It is a sector that holds strategic importance in the Indian economy providing employment to millions and benefits across sectors. Having generated over 2.5 crore jobs directly in 2016-17 and expectations to account for over 3.1 crore jobs directly, an increase of 2.1% per annum over ten years – these numbers reflect the direct contribution of travel and tourism industry, which does not include ‘wider contribution’ through indirect and induced impact on the economy.

In line with the expectations, the government has done really well in terms of modernisation of big airports and rejuvenation of the smaller ones. UDAN 2.0, offering connectivity to 56 unserved airports and 37 unserved helipads, will make flying accessible to millions of Indians by encouraging airlines to fly under-served airports.

This is a right step towards achieving connectivity with tier 3-4 cities. Both inbound and outbound travel is growing in double digits and lower fares offered by the airlines have played a big role in that.

Overall infrastructure has improved, though a lot remains to be done. The plans to develop 10 tourist destinations to attract more people to the country and enhance amenities under the Amrut programme, is a testimony to the intent being in the right direction.

Even the allocation of Rs 1,48,528 crore to bring state-of-the-art facilities such as WiFi and CCTVs for the Indian Railways is a welcome move. This policy will not only help boost domestic tourism in the country, but also positively impact the hotel and aviation sector thereby increasing employment and the sectors’ contribution to GDP.

At MakeMyTrip, we are bullish about the future growth and opportunities in the travel and tourism sector. Rising income of India’s middle class is changing lifestyles and consumption patterns, leading to a tourism boom, which in turn has given a major fillip to economic growth and has helped in job creation.

To facilitate the same, infrastructure development is a pre-requisite for the industry and additional incentives for infrastructure development will attract private investment and help accelerate growth. The government's aggressive push for its regional connectivity scheme, UDAN, is set to be the next big move that will make flying accessible to millions of Indians by encouraging airlines to fly to under-served airports.

We thank the government for showcasing its commitment and focus towards growth, through this progressive Budget and are hopeful of effective implementation of these policies.

— Author is the group chairman and CEO of MakeMyTrip.
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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