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Monday, 29 February, 2016, 15 : 00 PM [IST]

Tourism & Hotel industry feels neglected in the Budget 2016-17

The tourism and hospitality industry in the country felt gross neglect in the budget presented by Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, today in Parliament.While giving his reactions to Travelbiz Monitor, Bharat Malkhani, President, Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI) said that the tourism and hospitality industry proved to be a “persona non grata” for the government, and not even a “mention” of the word tourism could be found in the whole budget speech. While countries smaller in size than India like Sri Lanka, UAE, etc. are drawing foreign tourists to their shores in vast numbers, the industry expected some initiatives and incentives from the government to support the growth of the sector and industry, he said. “The industry was not even remembered” by the government, he said.

Dr Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson, Lalit Suri Hospitality, and immediate past President FICCI, said that while there was no direct mention of tourism or hospitality in the budget, stress on rural infrastructure development investment and on Swachh Bharat (Clean India programme) will have indirect impact and benefit the tourism industry. She agreed that the industry was looking for some interest rate cuts since the hospitality industry is under financial stress and is debt-ridden, but unfortunately, the government hasn’t looked at that. She added that if there is indeed intent from the government, it can be done afterwards as well.

The sentiments of disappointment were echoed by Kamlesh Barot, past president HRAWI, who said that while the government had included Tourism in the 5 pillars during its oath speech, the Finance Minister, when talking about the 9 new pillars, made no mention of the tourism industry, at all. “We were expecting some sops relating to Service Tax, GST on Tourism Arrivals,” he said .
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