New Delhi, February 2, 2024: In a significant move aimed at revitalizing the tourism sector, the Union Budget 2024 places a substantial focus on the development of domestic tourism. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the allocation of interest-free loans to states, encouraging them to enhance tourism activities within their borders. This initiative is anticipated to not only generate considerable tourism revenue but also create numerous job opportunities across the country.
The government emphasized a commitment to the comprehensive development of tourist centers nationwide. Sitharaman outlined plans to encourage states to undertake the holistic development of iconic tourist destinations, emphasizing branding and global-scale marketing. A framework for rating these centers based on the quality of facilities and services is set to be established, with long-term interest-free loans provided to states for development on a matching basis.
Sitharaman highlighted the vast opportunities for local entrepreneurship in the tourism sector, including spiritual tourism. This strategic move aligns with the recent surge in tourism witnessed in emerging destinations like Ayodhya, following the inauguration of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir.
To cater to the growing interest in domestic tourism, the Finance Minister announced projects focused on port connectivity, tourism infrastructure, and amenities on islands, including Lakshadweep. These initiatives aim to not only enhance the tourism experience but also contribute to employment generation.
Underlining India’s robust economic standing, Sitharaman positioned the country as an attractive hub for business and conference tourism. She emphasized the evolving travel aspirations of the middle class, highlighting the success of hosting G20 meetings as a testament to India’s diversity and its expanding global audience.
The Union Budget 2024 strategic focus on domestic tourism development is poised to usher in a new era for the sector, unlocking its vast potential for economic growth and job creation across the nation.
Mr Kush Kapoor, CEO, Roseate Hotels & Resorts
“Hon’ble FM Sitharaman’s interim Budget speech underscores a strategic move to reshape India’s MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) landscape by encouraging states to develop iconic tourist centers. The commitment to promoting these centers through long-term interest-free loans signifies a visionary approach, fostering a thriving ecosystem for local entrepreneurs. The recognition of G20 meetings as a showcase of India’s diversity is a powerful endorsement.
For the hotel industry, this announcement holds immense promise, turning these tourist centers into magnets for MICE activities. Strategically located and well-equipped, these centers can become hubs for national and international gatherings, boosting demand for accommodation, meeting spaces, and related services. The ripple effect is undeniable, with hotel occupancy rates set to surge as these centers become focal points for corporate events.
The long-term interest-free loans to states provide the financial impetus for seamless development, enhancing the appeal of these centers. This support not only fuels infrastructure growth but also attracts event organizers. Hotels, by aligning with the burgeoning MICE sector and offering top-notch facilities, can position themselves as preferred choices. The budget’s emphasis, therefore, not only transforms MICE activities but also presents a significant opportunity for the hotel industry’s growth and prosperity.”
Mr. Naveen Nahar, Partner, Travelz Factorry
“We celebrate the visionary steps taken in Union Budget 2024 by FM Sitharaman, maintaining tax stability for a robust economic environment. The laudable commitment to boost domestic and inbound tourism through island projects and Metro Rail expansion is noteworthy. With the inauguration of the Ram Mandir, emphasis on ‘Wed in India,’ and ‘Vocal for Local,’ the government passionately promotes domestic tourism, aligning with PM Modi’s vision. The announcement of 149 airport expansions will significantly enhance domestic travel. FM Sitharaman’s foresight promises a golden era of unprecedented development in our nation over the next 5 years. Furthermore, by prioritizing the empowerment of youth and enhancing digital, social, and physical infrastructure, the government is actively encouraging the younger generation to play a pivotal role in the country’s growth and contribute significantly to the GDP. FM Sitharaman’s holistic approach ensures that our youth becomes an integral force in shaping the prosperous future of our nation.”
Punit V. Sood, Founder & Director of Karabi Art Community
“The PM Vishwakarma Yojana has the potential to completely transform the artisan and crafters community at Karabi Art Community thanks to its significant financial investment and all-encompassing methodology. The program’s dedication to providing comprehensive assistance, including monetary support, instruction, and exposure to contemporary methods, is a game-changing move. In addition to streamlining the registration process and bringing accessibility into the modern era, the biometric-based portal offers free registration, which benefits our community. This project has the potential to improve our abilities, give much-needed financial support, and create a growth-oriented atmosphere. Because the program covers a wide range of 18 trades, it is inclusive and benefits a diverse group of artisans. All things considered, the PM Vishwakarma Yojana is a shining example of empowerment, promising to strengthen and elevate our sector by providing us with the tools, information, and assistance required to prosper in a changing and cutthroat environment.”
Nikhil Sharma, Market Managing Director, Eurasia, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
“The recent Union budget brings positive news for the Hospitality, Travel, and Tourism sectors. The government’s initiative to offer interest-free loans signals a welcomed boost for domestic tourism, especially in iconic tourist spots like Bodh Gaya, Ayodhya, Gujarat, Varanasi, and others. Special attention to Lakshadweep promises enhanced tourist infrastructure, making hospitality services more appealing and accessible. This development particularly benefits the middle class, fostering their aspirations to travel and explore. Overall, these measures aim to fortify the tourism industry, contributing to the nation’s economic growth and offering new opportunities for both businesses and travellers.”
Simranjeet Singh, Director, CYK Hospitalities
“As the network via road, rail, airport, and highway increases, it opens up opportunities for more travel, which creates a domino effect over the food and beverage industry as well. With developments like these and spiritual tourism coming up, the scope for established as well as new food brands has increased. The Honourable Finance Minister’s announcement to develop infrastructure across the country is a welcome step for everyone related to the F&B industry. The international and domestic brands will get a chance to penetrate more Nationwide, also giving a great employment opportunity.”
Mr. Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director, Informa Markets India
“Elated to witness the transformative strides in the Travel & Tourism sector post-budget, with a notable emphasis on encouraging business tourism and showcasing India’s diversity to the global audience. Acknowledging India’s success in hosting G20 meetings across 60 diverse locations, this budget unveils a comprehensive vision. Going beyond the ambitious implementation of 3 major railway corridor programs under PM Gati Shakti scheme and the surge in foreign investment from $298 billion (2014) to an impressive $596 billion (2023) speaks volumes about India’s economic prowess, establishing it as a compelling destination for both business and conference tourism.”
“Moreover, the spotlight on domestic tourism is commendable. With projects for port connectivity, tourism infrastructure, and amenities on our islands, including Lakshadweep, this budget not only enhances travel experiences but also generates employment. The emphasis on states to develop iconic tourist centers with a framework for quality rating and provision of long-term interest-free loans further positions India as an attractive destination for both global and domestic travellers. This budget indeed lays a solid foundation for a more competitive, connected, and inclusive travel landscape.”
Madhavan Menon, Executive Chairman, Thomas Cook (India) Limited
The interim Budget presented by the Finance Minister has focussed on Tourism with a multipronged approach that we believe will create a multiplier effect across aviation, tourism and allied sectors, boosting growth and employment generation.
We welcome the announcements on airport development and expansion: having already doubled to 149 airports in the last decade, the government’s plans to boost air connectivity by the addition of 517 new routes across Tier 2-3 cities, carrying 1.3 crore passengers via the UDAN scheme, will play a critical role with vibrant hub and spoke air corridors to boost accessibility-affordability for Regional India.
Implementation of major rail connectivity corridors via the PM Gati Shakti program together with port and metro/rapid transport expansion will serve to create valuable multi modal connectivity for Tourism.
We welcome the special focus on Domestic Tourism which represents a vibrant growth driver via the government’s plan of long-term interest free loans to States; development of iconic tourism centres by States along with marketing on global standards. What was noteworthy is the reference to Spiritual Tourism and projects for port connectivity, tourism infrastructure and amenities on islands including Lakshdweep – aimed at development of India’s hidden gems and employment opportunities.
Further, the strong capex outlay of Rs 11.11 lakh cr, a significant 4% of our GDP, will serve as a catalyst to the Country’s growth potential and job creation.
Mr. Vishal Suri, Managing Director, SOTC Travel Limited.
The interim budget presented by Hon’ble Finance Minister has maintained status-quo on direct and indirect taxes thus keeping its impact neutral. The government has set focus on the overall travel and tourism sector via infrastructure development, green energy, sustainability and looked at diverse initiatives for domestic tourism via a strategic approach for each segment – aviation, ports (waterways) and rail to strengthen regional connectivity to tier 2 and 3 cities.
We welcome the development on the rapid expansion of air connectivity with the addition of 517 new routes across Regional India’s tier 2 and 3 cities via the UDAN scheme – this will play a key role in strengthening accessibility.
The special focus on strengthening domestic tourism via implementation of rail connectivity corridors under the PM Gati Shakti initiative and upgrading 40,000 regular train boogies into high speed Vande Bharat trains will definitely strengthen surface transportation.
The Government’s plan on focus on spiritual tourism, development of iconic tourist spots and island destinations of India including Lakshadweep (projects for port connectivity, tourism infrastructure, and amenities) will generate employment thus boosting India’s economy. What is noteworthy, is the Government’s mindful move to form a panel to tackle challenges of higher population/over tourism, especially in destinations with sensitive ecosystems.
Mr. Pratik Kamdar, CEO & Co-Founder Neuron Energy.
“The Interim Budget focused on key sectors and one of the promising ones is Electric Vehicles (EV). The initiatives will enhance and fortify the EV ecosystem by bolstering manufacturing and charging infrastructure. Additionally, the encouragement of greater adoption of e-buses for public transport networks through payment security mechanisms is a notable benefit. These investments not only pave the way for increased EV sales and adoption but also open doors for burgeoning job opportunities and entrepreneurial ventures within the sector. These efforts remain dedicated to driving India’s green mobility revolution forward. There is also an anticipated outcome in the form of economic empowerment which will equip the youth with valuable technical skills, ensuring a robust workforce for the manufacturing of EV chargers, and associated equipment. We look forward to the July budget where the focus will be on Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME II) scheme and much-anticipated FAME III scheme.”
Ankur Gigras, CEO and Co-founder of HexaHealth,
“The interim budget was just released, and the emphasis on a comprehensive GDP, incorporating governance, development, and performance was evident. The proposed fiscal estimate reinforces a people-centric agenda and promises great enhancement in Indian healthcare. As per WHO, cervical cancer ranks as the fourth most prevalent cancer among women, posing a significant challenge for the Indian population. The budget forecast has thus put focus on prioritising precautionary healthcare by encouraging vaccination in girls of 9-14 years for cervical cancer. This initiative is a great step to help in the diagnosis and prevention of cervical cancer in girls at an early age. Additionally, the finance minister mentioned extending the Ayushman Bharat scheme to include ASHA and Anganwadi workers, which reflects inclusivity by recognising their invaluable role in our health system. The finance minister expressed her futuristic expectations during the provisional budget, ensuring the necessary support. The vision for 2047 is full of commitment to providing abundant opportunities for our country. It has motivated the healthcare sector to continue contributing to holistic development and achieve great heights.”
Mr. Amit Parsuramka, CEO, Bonito Designs,
“The budget 2024 has placed a significant emphasis on inclusive development, setting the stage for India’s transformation into a “Viksit Bharat” by 2047. This strides in the PM Awas Yojana Gramin, targeting the construction of 3 crore houses with an additional 2 crore in the next 5 years, underscore a substantial commitment to affordable housing. This approach holds immense promise for the interior designing, real estate, and infrastructure sectors, with the specific focus on uplifting the middle class. Anticipated growth in real estate demand and concurrent development in infrastructure present a myriad of opportunities in Tier II and Tier III markets as well. The announcement pertaining to boosting domestic and spiritual tourism will also give rise to real estate and related businesses in those areas. As the government proactively addresses housing needs and establishing collaborations with these sectors, there’s a tangible potential for them to play pivotal roles in the transformative vision of the country”
Nikhil Mansukhani, Managing Director, MAN Industries.
“The budget aligns with the vision of ‘Viksit Bharat’, that of creating a prosperous nation in harmony with mother nature. We see the emphasis on modern infrastructure, including metro rail network and NaMo Bharat, as a significant catalyst for urban and industrial transformation. It is commendable to see the government’s strategy to triple capital expenditure, fostering robust economic growth and job creation. The 11.1 percent increase in next year’s outlay to 11,11,111 crore, constituting 3.4 percent of the GDP, reflects a visionary approach. The focus on building infrastructure aligns seamlessly with the government’s vision for a resilient and prosperous India.
Very importantly, the provision of viability gap funding for offshore wind energy, establishment of coal gasification and liquefaction capacity, and the phased mandatory blending of compressed biogas in CNG and PNG, are welcome steps towards India’s commitment to achieving ‘net-zero’ by 2070. These will lead to reduced imports and boost self-reliance, a very welcome approach to our sustainability goals.
The strategic economic railway corridor programs are bound to boost the energy, mineral, and cement corridors, ports connectivity, and enhanced and smoother traffic. These initiatives will undoubtedly propel infrastructural development and growth.”
Sibasish Mishra, Founder and CEO of Bookingjini
“The 2024 Union Budget holds promising implications for our industry, with a commendable focus on uplifting marginalized sections and promoting tourism. Prioritizing the Garib (poor), Mahilayein (women), Yuva (youth), and Annadata (farmers) reflect an inclusive growth approach, ensuring equitable distribution of tourism-related benefits.
The commitment to developing iconic tourist centers and global marketing is a positive step that can significantly boost tourist influx, benefiting hotels and hospitality establishments nationwide. The ongoing expansion of airports over the past decade has enhanced infrastructure for the aviation and tourism sectors, improving connectivity for domestic and international tourists. This not only makes travel more accessible but also creates new opportunities for growth and expansion within the hospitality sector. Overall, the 2024 budget aligns well with the industry’s needs, paving the way for a more inclusive, connected, and prosperous future.”
Sandeep Arora, Director, Brightsun Travel
As expected, this year’s budget puts a strong emphasis on domestic tourism, and we truly applaud this move. The commitment to providing interest-free loans to states for enhancing tourism within their borders is a positive step to boost domestic tourism in the country. There are many offbeat destinations within India that are unique and one of a kind, so the government’s pledge for the comprehensive development of tourist centers, with a focus on branding and global-scale marketing, is another welcome move. This will undoubtedly pave the way for transformative growth in the travel and tourism sector, enabling us to showcase the incredible diversity and richness of our nation to the world.
Pushpendra Bansal – COO – Lords Hotels & Resorts
We commend(praise) the initiatives taken to boost the tourism industry in the interim budget. The recent address by the Honourable FM Sitharaman, emphasizing the empowerment of iconic destinations and local entrepreneurs through interest-free loans, presents an encouraging outlook. This support not only aims to accelerate infrastructure development but also has the potential to transform these targeted destinations into thriving hubs for domestic and international hospitality services. However, our greatest anticipation lies in the introduction of input credit for restaurants and F&B businesses, which would further enhance their growth prospects.
Dushyant Sinha, Founder, TWH Hospitality,
The announcement in the budget of the government’s encouragement to the states to take up comprehensive development of iconic tourist centres and to market them at global stage is a welcome announcement. It will fulfil the country’s middle-class aspirations to travel and explore, making India a centre of world tourism. This move augurs well for India’s travel and tourism sector.