Union Budget 2021: Travel industry leaders express disappointment, hope for better assistance

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Union Budget 2021 seems to have refused to directly address one of the worst-hit sectors-the Travel & Tourism Industry in India. What’s the general sentiment of the industry to the budget? Read on to find out.

With zero foreign exchange earnings and less than 25 per cent of pre-pandemic revenues, the travel sector is facing an existential crisis. But we are surprised that the sector could not find even a mention in the FM’s Budget 2021. We wish our Govt. would study what other countries have done to ensure tourism, the worst-hit sector, is kept alive. The Hospitality and Tourism industry was looking forward to some relief measures to lift this most severely affected industry by COVID19. Instead, it has yet again completely and fully chosen to ignore us.
-Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President, Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India

Against the challenging backdrop of the COVID era, the Union Budget 2021-22 is an expansionist budget: we welcome the much-needed investments in healthcare. While the six pillars of the Budget presented a diversified approach to fundamentals, focus on the Travel and Tourism Sector has been noticeably absent.

For an industry that is a crucial contributor to India’s GDP and a powerful force multiplier, priority tourism-related announcements – an imperative to revival and sustenance – were clearly missed. We are looking at a long road to recovery and the Union Budget has not provided the helping hand that was expected of it.

-Madhavan Menon, Chairman & Managing Director, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.

Lack of immediate direct support in the Budget has disappointed the Indian travel and tourism industry. “hile infrastructure measure announced as budget announcements, may boost tourism over the long term, the opportunity for immediate support has regretfully been missed out.
-Nakul Anand, Chairman-FAITH.

It is heartening to note that the Small Industry limit has been revised from 50 lakh to 2 crores. Hope they can benefit from some sops. Increase in exemptions for start-up by one year is also heartening news. There is a need to understand and incentivize entrepreneurs who are looking at setting up businesses with low investments and focused on service offering- be it food, gifting, concierge or event-related. Since the hospitality, food and event industry relies a lot on this pool of freelancers/ creative entrepreneurs, one expected the government to do more for this sector so they, in turn, give a much-needed fillip to the celebrations industry who indirectly so much to the happiness quotient
-Parthip Thyagarajan, CEO & Co-founder, WeddingSutra

We expected much more than what was announced in the Union Budget. However, we believe the Budget 2021 has focused more on spendings to enable economic growth through infrastructure roads and financial remedies. Travel, tourism and hospitality were completely neglected. As we await the fine print, the direct taxes are not clear.

Further, the dis-investment in AirIndia is still on the rocks and is expected to be completed this year. Clarity on the same is eagerly is awaited by us, the main stakeholder partner hereto.
-Jyoti Mayal, President, TAAI

Overall, the Budget 2021 is a pragmatic and positive budget which is
committed to key sectors such as agriculture, healthcare and infrastructure
development.

However, we were looking for some measures related to travel & hospitality sector such as awarding infrastructure status to the hospitality industry and to reduce GST rate on
hospitality which have not been addressed in the budget. These reforms would
have helped in the revival of this industry as it has been severely battered
by the pandemic.
-Sonica Malhotra Kandhari, Joint Managing Director, MBD Group.