Tourists ride boats on a lake in Shillong, Meghalaya, India. (Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg)

Budget 2019: Focus On Infrastructure, Developing Iconic Sites To Boost Tourism Sector, Says Industry

The government’s focus on infrastructure development, improving accessibility and plans to develop 17 tourism sites into world-class tourist destinations in the union budget for 2019-20 will give the sector a boost, according to travel and tourism players.

“From travel and tourism industry point of view, while we are pleased to hear of the focus on infrastructure-related spends with investment of Rs 100 lakh crore over the next five years, it is critical that we are able to build better connectivity to key tourist destinations as that still remains a sore point for one of the fastest-growing service industry in India,” MakeMyTrip Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer Deep Kalra said.

In her budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government is developing 17 iconic tourism sites into world-class tourist destinations to serve as a model for other tourism sites.

The announcement to develop 17 iconic tourism sites into world-class tourism destination is important one as it will add momentum to solving connectivity issues, providing better facilities, promotion and branding where private participation can also play a role, Kalra added.

Echoing similar views, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. Chairman and Managing Director Madhavan Menon said, "With this Budget, the government has addressed the key fundamental challenges like liquidity, foreign direct investment, employment and infrastructure development."

For travel and tourism sector, it is encouraging to see focus being given to the aviation industry, he said.

"A noteworthy initiative is the setting up of 17 iconic tourism sites as world-class tourist centres, coupled with a digital repository as a bank of documentation on India's tribal history and heritage," Menon said.

This year's budget aims to drive robust growth for the travel and tourism industry with the government committing to strengthening infrastructure and improving accessibility, Yatra.com Chief Operating Officer for B2C Sharat Dhall said.

"Boosted by government's plan to enhance 17 iconic tourism sites into world-class tourist destinations, we expect India to gain a prominent spot in the global tourism map, thus continuing the growth momentum that the industry has been enjoying so far," he added.

Also read: Budget 2019: Key Takeaways From Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget Speech

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