Sharing his expectations from the upcoming Union Budget, Mr. Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. Says:
“The travel and tourism industry has been severely impacted in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and given that the sector is a key contributor to the Country’s GDP and employment generation, we hope to see the Union Budget 2021-22 make tourism and its sustained revival a key agenda.
In the face of limited international border reopening, domestic tourism offers strong potential as a key driver towards economic revival in 2021. Hence direct personal tax benefits and exemptions for travel within the country will be of significant value in catalysing consumption via tourism and allied industries – with cascading positive impact to the economy.
We look forward to the completion of noteworthy announcements of Budget 2020 such as the Government’s plans to develop 17 iconic tourism sites as world-class tourist centres to give a fillip to demand for Destination India and ensure repeat visits. Increased allocation and speed of execution of infrastructure – across roads, railways, airports, waterways and sanitation is much needed.
India’s differentiator lies in its vibrant heritage and culture, and tourism could well infuse fresh lifeblood – critical to artisans and local communities that have been crippled in the ongoing pandemic. Focus on such local arts and communities via the Union Budget would be invaluable.
Our waterways, especially our rivers, are yet underleveraged and offer significant scope towards the exploration of India’s hidden gems – an area that would benefit with focus via the Union Budget.
Innovative and pioneering initiatives like Medical Tourism especially the Made in India COVID-19 vaccines could create a powerful impetus/differentiator with support from the Union Budget.
We also look forward to key announcements for the MICE segment. Given the challenges of large scale physical events due to the current restrictions that limit in-person engagements and large gatherings, the recommendation to provide a 200 per cent weighted exemption of all expenses to corporates on all domestic conferences and a zero rating GST for MICE will serve as a further incentive as business steadily picks up.” – Mr Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.