The Union Budget 2018 significantly emphasizes on stimulating growth in the country.The growth focused Union Budget is announced in the light of slowdown in the GDP at 6.2% yet it is heartening to see the optimism which the budget has got with our government’s vision of increasing our GDP to 7.2-7.5% by the second half of the year. The Budget 2018 outlines the government’s commitment to reinvigorate the economy, kick-start investment cycle and also maintain fiscal prudence.
The travel and tourism sector is one of India’s sunrise sectors in terms of revenue generation. According to World Travel and Tourism Council, this sector has generated INR 14.1 trillion (USD 208.9 billion) in 2016, which is equivalent to 9.6% of India’s GDP. Additionally, the sector created 40.3 million jobs in 2016, which ranks India 2nd in the world in terms of total employment generated. The sector accounts for 9.3% of the country’s total jobs. Over the past year, we’ve seen growing interest in travel among Indians as the searches for domestic destinations increased by 84% and international destinations increased by 31% in 2017 on KAYAK.co.in.
2018 has been a significant year for aviation sector as in the beginning of the year itself, government announced the much-awaited relaxation in Foreign Direct Investment in aviation sector. It is heartening to see how under UDAN connectivity scheme, our government aims to increase the number of airports in our country to accommodate 1 billion flights a year. This will help Indians to travel easily and cost effectively to some of the unattainable places as well. The aim of the government to reignite India as a travel destination through the creation of new tourist circuits and by investing in infrastructure, is applaudable. The fact that government has decided to develop 10 tourist destinations to attract more people to the country and enhance amenities under the Amrut programme, is a testimony to the same. Even the allocation of INR 1,48,528 crore to bring state-of-the-art facilities such as WiFi and CCTVs for the Indian Railways is a welcome move and will further propel growth in the tourism sector of the country.
The tourism industry has come a long way in the past few years and with this budget the government has tried to give a boost to the sunrise sector. We thank the government for showing sincerity and commitment to kick-start our economy. With focus on growth, it is a progressive budget and is a stepping stone to India’s growth story. The delivery however will be contingent on effective implementation of these policies.