In its ‘The 50 Most Beautiful Countries In The World’ rankings (2022), Forbes ranked India as the seventh in the list!
Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman said that Union Budget 2024-25 has a “heavy focus on domestic tourism”. This could mean that there is a substantial potential for generating tourism revenue in India and creating numerous job opportunities.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the key tourism-related announcements made in the Union Budget 2024-25 and the allied sectors that will receive impetus. Keep reading to find out!
Announcements Related to Tourism in the Union Budget
Here are a few takeaways related to tourism from the Finance Minister’s (FM) budget speech:
Collaborating with states for tourism
States will be encouraged to take up the “comprehensive” development of iconic tourist centres and undertake their branding and marketing at a global scale. A framework for rating tourist centres based on the quality of facilities and services provided will be established. Long-term interest-free loans will be provided to states for financing such development on a matching basis.
For a period of 50 years, the Union government will provide ₹75,000 crore loans at zero interest to states in order to boost tourism and to assist their reform efforts towards achieving the goal of “Viksit Bharat.”
Lakshadweep Islands gained attention following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit last month. In fact, online searches for Lakshadweep surged to a multi-year high last month, following adverse comments from people in Maldives against PM Modi and India.
The FM said that projects for “port connectivity, tourism infrastructure, and amenities will be taken up on our islands, including Lakshadweep.” This will address the emerging fervour for domestic tourism and help in generating employment.
A few companies in this space surged up to 60% recently. These include Praveg (setting tents), Easy Trip Planners (for bookings), Indian Hotels Company (hospitality), Lemon Tree Hotels (hospitality) Interglobe Aviation (flights), Shipping Corporation of India (transporting goods) and Tourism Finance Corporation of India (provides financial assistance to companies in the sector).
“Our middle class also now aspires to travel and explore. Tourism, including spiritual tourism, has tremendous opportunities for local entrepreneurship,” the FM said. Spiritual tourism is still one of the biggest segments of tourism in India. Popular religious centres attract an annual tourist traffic of 10-30 million despite infrastructural bottlenecks.
Emerging destinations like Ayodhya have seen an influx of tourists with the inauguration of the Ayodhya Ram mandir. Ayodhya has about 17 hotels and 73 new hotels are in the pipeline. Companies like IHCL, Marriott International, and Wyndham have already signed deals for hotels.
QSR chains such as Restaurant Brands Asia (RBA), Devyani International, and Jubilant Foods are in discussions to set up outlets. Burger King has already set up an outlet in the city. Indigo, Air India, Spicejet and Akasa Air have announced flights connecting Ayodhya with multiple cities. IRCTC announced tour packages to Ayodhya.
Source: Current Affairs- Adda247
“Comprehensive development of tourist centres, the success of organising G20 meetings in 60 places presented the diversity of India to a global audience. Our economic strength has made the country an attractive destination for business and conference tourism,” the FM said.
MICE refers to meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions. Over the past few decades, the MICE industry has been recognized as a significant market segment and an important contributor to national economies.
India has less than a 1% share of the global MICE business. Businesses related to tourism are usually seasonal. However, government initiatives towards MICE could keep India’s tourism businesses ticking all year round.
The government plans to convert 40,000 normal railway bogies to Vande Bharat standards in order to enhance the safety, convenience and comfort of passengers.
“Three major economic railway corridor programmes will be implemented. These are energy, mineral and cement corridors, port connectivity corridors, and high-traffic density corridors,” Sitharaman said. These programs will improve logistics efficiency and reduce costs. In addition, they will decongest high traffic corridors and help in improving operations of passenger trains, resulting in safety and higher travel speed for passengers.
Companies manufacturing wagons and their parts include Titagarh Rail Systems and Jupiter Wagons.
“50 additional airports, aerodromes and helipads as well as water routes would be built to enhance connectivity,” Sitharaman said. This move is expected to further push the ongoing UDAN scheme which aims at improving regional connectivity across the country.
There were 74 airports in India in 2014, and the number has now increased to 147. India has become the third-largest aviation market in the world and the UDAN Yojana has played an important role in this regard. UDAN flights have transported close to 1.15 crore people in the last six years.
President Droupadi Murmu said that 50 additional airports will not only augment the need for enhanced air connectivity but it will lead to the creation of thousands of jobs both directly and indirectly. It will provide ample opportunities for further aviation domains to grow and meet the expectations of the Indian population.
A few companies in this airline industry are Interglobe Aviation, SpiceJet, Jet Airways, Global Vectra Helicorp, and GMR Airports Infrastructure.
Developments So Far
- In less than five years since its inauguration, the Statue of Unity in Gujarat has welcomed nearly 1.6 crore visitors
- The Government introduced the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014, which has indirectly boosted tourism. Cities compete for cleanliness in the annual Swachh Survekshan Awards where Indore has been named cleanest city for 7 years in a row
- Recently, Varanasi overtook Goa in terms of hotel bookings
India has always been a nation of remarkable diversity and cultural richness. Its tourism sector has seen an exciting transformation in recent years. Domestic tourism and weekend getaways have grown dramatically. The current government is focusing on the sector’s untapped potential as a key driver for economic growth, employment generation, and infrastructural development.