Budget 2023: Hospitality industry stalwarts welcomes FM’s announcements to boost tourism sector

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget announcements for the tourism sector will strengthen the hospitality industry, said industry stalwarts. However, no direct support was mentioned in the budget statement.

Hospitality Biz spoke to the industry experts to understand the market sentiments.

Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality of  industry (FAITH)  has expressed the tourism industry’s concern that  the budget statement could have covered more direct support measures for the industry .

The budget has rightly proposed tourism as a transformative engine for job creation to be developed on a mission mode on a PPP basis, along with states and focus on 50 tourism destinations and infrastructure.

However, since the budget, was coming on the back of a recovery from the pandemic this was an opportunity to strengthen the tourism travel and hospitality industry of India to reclaim its global inbound tourism share and to add value to domestic tourism which would have boosted employment pan India, the federation said.

Nakul Anand, Chairman, FAITH

EC members of all FAITH member associations had been regularly interacting with various officials for pre- budget meetings. While we are thankful that the FM has touched upon developing tourism on a mission mode along with destination development,  yet the  Indian tourism, travel & hospitalty industry was keenly looking forward to getting the vital infrastructure status, to be treated at par with merchandise exports, to have gotten enhanced support to tourism for global marketing, to have had a directional positive guidance on gst issues for tourism and was looking forward to enhanced tax / financial support mechanisms to tourism msmes which are more than 95% of industry  entrepreneurs are travel agents, hotels, tour operators, restaurants, tourist transporters and guides among others.

Pradeep Shetty, President, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI)

“The fact that Tourism got attention in the Union Budget is a big welcome. The Hon’ble FM recognized the country’s potential for domestic as well as foreign tourists and the huge opportunities the sector holds for jobs and entrepreneurship. The Hon’ble FM stressed on promoting tourism on mission mode, with the active participation of States, the convergence of Government programmes and public-private partnerships. This is especially good news for regional tourism and hospitality. Developing new airports, heliports, water aerodromes and advanced landing grounds to improve regional connectivity will unlock the vast potential for growth in the Western region of India. An integrated and innovative approach through challenge mode will be a game changer for the destinations in the Western region selected through this route. The Unity Mall initiative too is a great step in the right direction that encourages States to promote regional tourism and sale of their own ODOPs (one district, one product), GI products and other handicraft products. The Credit guarantee scheme for MSMEs with an infusion of Rs.9000 Cr into the corpus is expected to help small and medium-scale hotels and restaurants.”

Vishal Suri, Managing Director, SOTC Travel Limited

The Union Budget 2023-24 presented by Hon’ble Finance Minister provides a positive focus on infrastructural development/investment, digital enhancements, sustainability, agriculture, domestic tourism. We appreciate the Government’s plan of continued focus on domestic tourism, railways, new airports, heliports, water aerodromes that will improve regional connectivity and be one of the key drivers of the domestic tourism sector.

Further the announcement on the launch of an app to enhance domestic tourism experience reiterates our country’s focus on digitization. The ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ initiative focusing on sector specific skilling and entrepreneurship development while the facilitation of tourism infrastructure under the Vibrant Villages Programme, and setting up a ‘Unity Mall’ in state capitals/ popular tourist destinations to promote ‘One District, One product’ for GI products and other handicrafts will strongly support domestic tourism. 

The travel & tourism industry supports one in 10 jobs and provides livelihoods for a significant number of people, therefore the Government’s support on prioritizing tourism with active participation from local authorities, sustainable practices and encouraging public-private partnerships is a positive pivot towards revival/road to recovery.  

However this Union Budget did not provide the travel & tourism industry the respite we anticipated with respect to rationalization of taxes. Instead the proposals increased TCS on outbound travel and other LRS transactions from 5% to 20% without any threshold exemption. In our view, such high rates of taxation are an added liability to outbound travelers and negatively impacts tour operators recovering from the pandemic. We request the Government to reconsider this proposal. 

We also hoped this budget would offer elimination of the 5 crore capping for the SEIS benefit and incentives to Corporates for organizing meetings and conference in India through partial or full tax exemptions.”

Karan Rathore, Vice Chairman, Services Export Promotion Council set up by the ministry of commerce and Industry

“Travel and tourism is one of the most crucial sectors that contributes to the GDP of our country. The budget will recognize 50 tourist destinations through challenge mode to be developed as a whole package for domestic and international tourism. That will ensure the true potential of tourism for both overseas and domestic tourists can be tapped. All relevant aspects such as high standards for food streets, physical connectivity, virtual connectivity, tourist guides, and tourist security, would be made available on an app to enhance the tourist experience. Every destination will be developed as a complete package. This will not only support the tourism industry but also offer huge opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship for youth in particular.”
Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & Group CEO, OYO
“The budget presented by Hon’ble Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman offers a roadmap for the holistic development of the nation, as we enter ‘Amrit Kaal’. It sets India up as the Startup Nation for the decade.Increment in the capital investment by 33% in infrastructure and Urban Infrastructure Development Fund (UIDF) will have a multiplier effect. Announcing a capital outlay of INR 2.40 lakh crore for the railway sector, addition of 50 airports, heliports, water aerodromes, and advanced landing grounds will further provide impetus to overall infrastructure, leading to improved connectivity across the country and enhancing domestic travel and tourism.It is heartening to see the extra emphasis given to tourism this year. The FM has identified tourism as one of the key sectors, with huge potential to generate employment for the youth, and reiterated government’s commitment to promote tourism on ‘mission mode’.We welcome the move to develop 50 cities across India as a complete package for domestic and international tourism, and developing an app to ensure all the key metrics related to travel and tourism for the said cities are regularly updated. We also laud the move to incentivise states to set up ‘Unity Malls’ in their most popular tourism destination for promotion of GI, ‘Made in India’ products and handicrafts. Integrated development of theme-based tourism circuit under the ‘Swadesh Darshan Scheme’, with special focus on improving infrastructure and amenities in border villages will provide a much-needed boost to rural and agriculture tourism. This will empower the farmers in building and setting up homestays that provide an additional source of income for them while also providing an authentic Indian experience to the travellers. OYO’s homestay projects in Ektanagar and J&K, in collaboration with respective state governments, have already yielded great results and helped boost tourism and overall economy in these villages.Another commendable move is the sector specific upskilling and development to achieve the objectives of ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ initiative launched by PM Modi last year. This will encourage the youth to take up a career in tourism and hospitality, and further strengthen the growth of the sector.In recent years, the start-up ecosystem in India has expanded rapidly to emerge as a major driver of economic growth. The finance minister’s proposal to extend the date of incorporation for income tax benefits to start-ups by another year is bound to further that progress and promote new entrepreneurial talent.The decision to provide the benefit of carry forward of losses on change of shareholding of start-ups from seven years of incorporation to 10 years is another welcome move.”

Paritosh Ladhani, Joint Managing Director, Sincere Developers, which owns Taj Hotel & Convention Centre Agra

The Union Budget 2023-2024 presented by the finance minister (Nirmala Sitharaman) highlighted that the Indian economy is on a growth trajectory in spite of the global economic challenges. In her Budget speech, the FM emphasized that the country offers “immense attraction” for both domestic and international tourists. With the government announcing that states will be encouraged to set up a “Unity Mall” in the capital city or most popular tourist destination for the promotion of ‘One District, one product’ theme, such initiatives will help to unleash the potential vested in the tourism sector. I also expect that the change in tax regime announced in the Union Budget will result in more disposable income in the hands of middle-class consumers – which I expect ultimately will spur consumption in activities like travel. Regional connectivity will see a boost with the plans to renew 50 additional airports, helipads, water aero drones, and advanced landing grounds.

 Col. Manbeer Choudhary (Veteran), President Hotel and Restaurant Assn of Haryana (HRAH), Ex-President FHRAI and CMD, Noormahal Palace Hotel, Karnal

The special focus on boosting tourism and aggressive approach to accelerating infrastructure development is just the news the Tourism and Hospitality industry was eagerly waiting for. This would give the runway required for the ailing Hospitality industry to take off and touch new heights. The first union budget of Amrit Kaal shows a holistic outlook towards nurturing the industry by combining a push for transport infra projects complete with 50 additional airports, heliports, water aerodromes, and advanced landing zones being revitalised. Additionally, Railways get a capital outlay of INR 2.4 lakh crores, which is the highest-ever allocation since 2013-14.

An increase in capital investment outlay by 33 per cent to Rs 10 lakh crore (3.3 per cent of GDP) will give the required financial boon to grow. The government has shown its commitment to supporting the hospitality and tourism industry by including the development of 50 tourist destinations as a whole package for domestic and international tourism. An outlay of Rs 1,181.30 crore for the Swadesh Darshan Scheme will definitely infuse new energy into the theme-based tourist circuits such as the prestigious Krishna Circuit in Haryana attracting more and more foreign tourists.

Akaal Singh Manchanda, Founder & Director of Operations, Zuper Hotels & Resorts

The hospitality industry plays a significant role in India’s economy. Needless to say, the industry was majorly hit hard during the pandemic. As India is becoming one of the new tourist stations, the boost to the tourism sector will help attract more foreign visitors which will spur the hospitality sector.

The push from the government for the launch of mission mode in 50 tourist destinations can lead to a boom in business and sales in these regions. This will help the entire sector of ‘Travel Tourism & Hospitality’ survive, revive, and economically support India in its quest to become the world’s largest hub. The ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ scheme is a great initiative to propel travellers within their own country and will foster domestic tourism.

Additionally, as tourism employment contributes a substantial stairway to the total economy, this move will further stimulate the hotel franchises to scale up their operations in these regions and thereby creating more job opportunities.

Raoof Dhanani, Managing Director, Sayaji Hotels

Budget 2023 has been revolutionary in its efforts to give relief to every sector. Opportunity for job creation and entrepreneurship in the tourism sector is the need of the hour. Developing a package for domestic and international tourism out of 50 tourist destinations is a great start.

Revival of fifty additional airports, water aerodromes, advanced landing grounds and heliports will help in enhancing regional air connectivity in the country.

Along with these measures GST reduction was also expected which unfortunately was missed.

Vijay Dewan, Managing Director, Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels Limited and Co-Chairman of the CII National Committee on Tourism & Hospitality

“The budget demonstrates India’s rising global profile and sets the trajectory to be the third largest economy by the end of the decade.

The government has remained focused on the path of fiscal prudence reducing the fiscal deficit from 6.4% in FY 22/23 to 5.9% in FY 23/24. Strong focus on infrastructure development with outlay being increased from 7.3 lakh crores to 10 lakh crores and at 3.3% of the GDP will drive growth and generate employment.

On tourism, the budget fails to meet industry expectation on being granted infrastructure status and rationalisation of taxes. Increase in tax collection at source for overseas tour packages from 5% to 20% is also a negative and will hit the tour and travel industry especially since the industry has just reconnected from the pandemic.

However, setting up 50 new airports and heliports and 50 new tourist destinations to drive domestic and international traffic is a welcome step.

Overall the budget is inclusive and will inspire investors, tax payers, farmers and the common people.”

Jaison Chacko, Secretary General, Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI)

“It’s encouraging to note that the Union Budget has recognized the immense potential of the Tourism sector in the country to be tapped. The announcement of the Hon’ble Minister that promotion of tourism will be taken up on mission mode, with active participation of States, convergence of Government programmes and public-private partnerships is an extremely crucial announcement and the industry believes that this will benefit the sector in the long term. The Unity Mall, other tourism promotion initiatives through States and the development of 50 tourism destinations as a whole package will help in the growth of domestic as well as international tourism. Also, the announcement of additional airports, heliports, water aerodromes and advance landing grounds to improve regional connectivity is a great step. Like the Golden triangle, regional connectivity will give a major boost to the dedicated tourism corridors. This will help promote local tourism whilst giving a boost to investment in hospitality projects in the region. The industry is expecting appropriate allocation to be made to hospitality as per sector-specific planning envisaged by the Ministry of Tourism in conjunction with the industry. The enhancement of ease of doing business by reducing more than 39,000 compliances will also help to create a positive business environment. Lastly, the revamped Credit guarantee scheme for MSMEs with an infusion of Rs.9000 Cr into the corpus is expected to help small and medium-scale hotels and restaurants. The Hospitality industry’s long pending requests for Infrastructure status, uniform GST, and placing Tourism on the concurrent list of the constitution have not been met but the new announcements are positive signs of the Government’s intent about working on them in the near future.”

Madhavan Menon, Chairman & Managing Director, Thomas Cook (India) Limited

 “The proposal in the Union Budget 2023, to increase the rate of TCS from 5 to 20 per cent for purchase of overseas tours & overseas remittances other than education will significantly increase the upfront cash outflow for end customers. It will drive more of these customers to use alternate channels that are outside the domestic tax net. We urge the Government to reconsider this. On the positive side:

  • Income tax rebates announced in the budget will result in an increase of disposable incomes which is welcome.
  • Tourism promotion being taken up on a “mission mode”- with active participation of states, public-private partnerships and convergence of government programs will drive domestic tourism growth.
  • Strong infrastructural focus in the announcement of 50 new airports, heliports, water aerodromes and revival of advanced landing grounds will enhance regional access and connectivity.
  • Financial support via loans to be provided to states for developing enhanced road and rail connectivity will help uplift of the domestic tourism sector.
  • The selection of 50 destinations to be developed as holistic tourism packages – combined with the focus on local level tourism & the promotion and sale of GI products & handicrafts will give a boost to local arts and artisans.”
SP Jain, Chairman and Managing Director, Pride Hotels Limited

The Honorable Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has announced the development of tourist places jointly by public and private partnerships. This will give a much-needed boost to the domestic tourism segment. The budget specifies that 50 tourist destinations will be selected and developed as a whole package for domestic and international tourism. We welcome this announcement. For domestic tourism “Dekho Apna Desh” has already been promoted very widely now similarly international tourism too will be revived with these initiates. The tourist infrastructure will also be provided on the border and in North East India which will be highly beneficial for the inflow of tourists. The industry can harness the direct and multiplier effects of tourism in employment generation to the youth of India as the sector creates direct and indirect job opportunities. We believe these implementations will play a pivotal role in overall economic development. This is a good budget for the hospitality and tourism sectors.
Sonica Malhotra Kandhari, Joint Managing Director, MBD Group
Overall Budget 2023 is a positive and balanced budget with the plan to select 50 tourist destinations for development as a whole new package for domestic and international tourism. This move will give a big boost to the tourism industry promising strong growth. We are also happy with the announcement of the revitalization of 50 additional airports, heliports, water aerodromes, and advanced landing zones. This will not only improve connectivity but will also give impetus to the travel and tourism sector. The government has announced investing Rs 75,000 crore including Rs 15,000 crore from private sources into 100 critical transport infra projects for steel, ports, fertilizer, coal, and foodgrain sectors. This is a welcome step that would lead to a new growth trajectory for the tourism industry and also provide more job opportunities for the youth. Secondly, the budget has given a boost to the railway with plans to provide a capital outlay of Rs 2.40 lakh crore, which is the highest ever and is nine times over the Financial Year 2014. This move promises strong economic growth for the travel and tourism industry as well as the country.
Atul Goyal, CFO, Brigade Enterprises Ltd.

“The infrastructure spending of 10 lakh crores which is 3.3% of the GDP is a step in the right direction and is expected to have a positive cascading effect on all sectors. With respect to real estate, the extension of tax benefits to funds relocating to GIFT City till 2025 will enhance business activities in the region. The reduction in personal income tax and indirect taxes will enable individuals to have additional disposable income which enables them to look at investment options including buying homes. The capping of the capital gains benefit at a maximum of Rs. 10 crores for house property will however have a negative impact for the demand for ultra-luxury homes. In addition, the public-private-partnership initiatives that are being planned by the Government to boost tourism, along with the app to integrate all relevant aspects and the promotional measures to promote domestic tourism will have a positive effect on the sector. We welcome the measures announced to further promote tourism and to identity 50 projects for last mile connectivity improvement. The addition of 50 airports, heliports and waterdromes will also benefit the sector.”

M.P. Bezbaruah, Secretary General Hotel Association of India
It is heartening to note that the Union Budget 2023-24 continues to build on a strong foundation of economic development by promoting inclusive growth wherein fruits of development reach each and every citizen of the country. We are also enthused by the continued focus on developing infrastructure – railways, transport, airports, heliports, water aerodromes – all of which will improve connectivity that is directly linked to the growth of tourism and hospitality. Digitisation, development of artificial intelligence, emphasis on skilling are other aspects that impact all Sectors and hospitality is no exception.
In the recent past Tourism and Hospitality have been recognised as key pillars of the economy. Hotel sector can promote inclusive growth like no other industry given its potential to create jobs across categories, for women and differently abled persons and in remote and rural areas.
This budget too has recognised and highlighted the importance of the sector by announcing the selection and development of 50 tourist destinations through challenge mode. This will surely add more value to India as a destination for both domestic and international traveller Hotel Association of India has been advocating partnerships between the government and the private sector in the development of Indian Hospitality. That the destinations will be developed in a PPP mode as announced in the budget therefore also brings a deep sense of satisfaction.
The increase in standard deduction and reduction of income tax rates will place more disposable income in the hands of people and grow the demand for goods and services including hospitality services.
The Industry body was looking forward to some direct benefits like Infrastructure status, subsidised rates of utilities, property tax and availability of softer finance options, rationalisation of taxes for hotels . There is a mention of The Harmonized Master List of Infrastructure to be reviewed by an expert committee for recommending the classification and financing framework, about increased ease of doing business and other proposed reforms. The Association is hopeful that these recommendations will be addressed in the coming months.
Abhishek Aggarwal, President-Strategy, Ozone Overseas and Secutech
We are extremely delighted with this budget, especially since this is the first of ‘Amrit Kaal’ and envisions a technology-driven and knowledge-based economy.
At Ozone Overseas, we are committed to this vision and believe in ramping up the virtuous cycle of investment and job creation. We are proud to say that all our products are ‘Made in India’, and our upcoming manufacturing facility is expected to generate employment. In forthcoming times as well, we will announce more such initiatives that will provide a solid impetus for growth and job creation, and therefore make India a global manufacturing hub.”

Asif Fazlani, Managing Director, Fazlani Nature’s Nest

The government’s focus on tourism in the budget by giving it a top priority is commendable. The allocation of resources highlights the importance placed on boosting employment through the tourism sector. The budget demonstrates the government’s commitment to the holistic development of the industry. The plan to develop 50 tourist destinations for both domestic and international tourists will revolutionize the tourism industry in India.

Rajit V. Shetty, Managing Director, Ramee Group of Hotels
The government has made a significant allocation of funds for the revival of the hospitality industry, which has seen a decline in business due to the pandemic.The budget announced an allocation of Rs 2,480 crore for the development of the tourism industry, including the hospitality sector. This will be utilized for the development of tourist infrastructures such as tourist facilitation centers, wellness centers, and more. The government has also proposed the creation of a National Recruitment Agency to provide employment opportunities for the youth in the hospitality sector.The budget has also proposed the setting up of a National Technical Textiles Mission, with a target to increase exports of technical textiles to $30 billion by 2025. This will create job opportunities in the hospitality sector, as technical textiles are widely used in the manufacturing of bed linens, towels, and other hospitality products.Additionally, the budget has proposed a reduction in the corporate tax rate for new hotels, restaurants, and tourism-related businesses. This move is expected to encourage investment in the hospitality sector and provide a boost to the industry. The government has also proposed a scheme to provide easy access to credit for small businesses in the hospitality sector, which will help them to cope with the impact of the pandemic.In conclusion, the Union Budget 2023 has provided a much-needed boost to the Indian hospitality sector, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The allocation of funds for the development of the tourism industry and the reduction in corporate tax rates for new businesses are expected to help revive the industry and create job opportunities for the youth. The budget has given a ray of hope to the Indian hospitality sector and will help it to bounce back from the impact of the pandemic.
Aditya Sanghi, Co-founder & CEO, Hotelogix
“Guest experience is the fulcrum for tourism in India as we as a nation are gifted with many naturally beautiful landscapes, heritage destinations, medical tourism, and wellness tourism, like people visiting for yoga, etc. This budget’s focus on an app to enhance tourists’ experience is a welcome step. It will help us track the guest experience we are delivering and enable us to boost the same as we would know the areas to improve.The tourism and hotel sector will get further push with a focus on increasing international inbound tourism. It offers an opportunity for hotels in India to see much better ADRs as those international guests’ average spending is relatively higher. It will also be beneficial for the country’s economy.”

Sarbendra Sarkar, Founder & MD, Cygnett Hotels and Resorts

The Union Budget 2023-2024 presented by the Finance Minister (Nirmala Sitharaman) is a growth-oriented one aimed to help India weather the current global economic challenges. With the FM announcing plans to renew 50 additional airports, helipads, water aero drones, and advanced landing grounds, it will boost regional connectivity. Moreover, the announcement to develop 50 destinations for domestic and international tourists will also help to draw attention to the country’s tourism and hospitality sectors. The Finance Minister said that these tourist destinations will be selected through challenge mode. The impetus on Dekho Apna Desh will provide a further boost to the growth of domestic tourism in the country. The FM also highlighted that states will be encouraged to set up a “Unity Mall” in the capital city or most popular tourist destination for the promotion of the ‘One District, One product’ theme. Such initiatives will also help unleash the potential taped in the tourism sector.

 Jai Sreedhar, CEO and Joint Managing Director of Rosetta- Sakleshpur
“India’s domestic tourism potential is immense; however, it has not been completely explored yet. This sector presents a huge opportunity for various stakeholders involved in domestic t.ourism to grow the business exponentially.

It is heartening to see that the government is taking an interest in tourism and developing destinations, not just by increasing connectivity but enhancing the overall experience. They are looking at creating a holistic experience by focusing on allied services such as guides to famous tourist places, food stalls, and food vendors amongst other things.The other initiative by the government which is commendable is the skill development program. There is a severe shortage of skilled workforce in the tourism industry and any attempt to increase the skill quotient of the youth, contributing to any segment of tourism, be it hotels, transportation or local experiences will create a huge opportunity in this sector to create jobs and provide employment.”

Ashish Jatia, Executive Director, Rhythm Hospitality

The investments in road & airport infrastructure through all the previous budgets and this current one are key in unlocking the tourism potential of our beautiful nation. We also welcome the initiative by the Government to develop 50 tourist destinations. Hotel guests, both domestic and international, are eagerly awaiting the discovery of these new destinations and along with it the natural beauty, food & culture of new parts of India.”

Sheetal Bhalerao, Chairman, and Managing Director, Wardwizard Food and Beverages Ltd

“We welcome the Union Budget FY-23-24, which is focused on the growth of the economy and the upliftment of all sections of society. The government’s focus on reviving MSMEs, agri-infrastructure, digital payments, tax reforms, and job creation is welcome and encouraging. This budget provides a good opportunity for businesses like ours to accelerate and foster economic growth and development, create jobs and contribute to nation-building. I am confident that this budget will have a positive impact on the Indian economy and will help us to achieve our business objectives.”

Rajat Agrawal, CEO, Barista 

Union budget 2023 is out, retail industry was expecting few direct SOPs which were a complete miss from the budget, specially around Input tax credit. Keeping a positive view I see measures for bringing more cash flows in hands of individuals through relaxed tax sops, this will certainly have a direct bearing on their spends and we see this as a small window of opportunity which can benefit the retail sector with increased spending.

Kulbhushan Talwar, Cluster General Manager, Mosaic Hotels 

“We welcome the announcement made by FM to develop 50 tourist destinations in the country as a whole package to encourage both domestic and international tourism. As this step includes the development of destination in terms of transport connectivity, virtual connectivity, tourist guides, tourist security and high standard food joints, it will definitely boost the employment opportunities generated collectively by hotels, F&B players, tour and travel agencies, OTA etc.

Also, the government’s plan to launch the ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ initiative will motivate people, especially young tourists to travel within India. The initiative will further strengthen the hospitality, travel and tourism sector to rebound rapidly and compensate for the losses that occur due to the pandemic.

Overall, Union Budget 2023 was balanced and I expect the direct tax recommendations will empower the middle class to spend the money on lifestyle and travel.”

Vineet Verma, Director, Brigade Hospitality.

“A special mention on Tourism, by the Hon’ble FM, has been a most welcome gesture. An acknowledgment that Tourism is indeed critical to our economic growth, is encouraging and bodes well for the industry. We welcome the measures announced to further promote tourism and to identify 50 projects for last mile connectivity improvement. The addition of 50 airports, heliports and waterdromes should also benefit the sector. Overall, a satisfactory start but more such initiatives are expected in the days ahead.”

Gilbert James, Managing Director, Isthara Smart Food Courts

The 2023 budget has provided ample avenues for the development of the startup ecosystem in India, giving an impetus for the growth of organized names within the hospitality industry. The support and encouragement for entrepreneurship and innovation is further reinforced by the extension of income tax benefits and the extended carry forward of losses for start-ups, standing as a clear indication of the Government’s commitment to fostering a thriving startup ecosystem. This will in turn benefit the hospitality industry and will drive change and developments within the sector. Additionally, the introduction of new tax slabs will strengthen customer purchasing power, resulting in a stronger consumption pattern and increased revenue for hospitality-related businesses such as hostels, restaurants, malls and more, bolstering further growth in this industry in the coming years. Further, the proposal to set up ‘Unity Mall’ in popular tourism destinations promises to hold huge opportunities from a hospitality perspective.

Kush Kapoor, CEO, Roseate Hotels & Resorts

“Honourable FMs push for the tourism sector is a great booster for the Indian hospitality industry. While post pandemic there has been a significant increase in domestic tourism’s contribution to luxury hotels, ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ campaign will further add to the momentum. The government’s focus on tourism promotion is evident in their opening up opportunities for joint participation of the states and private players in Government programs via the PPP mode. This will be a major driver for growth to tourism across India. Further, the development of 50 new airports and 50 destinations through challenge mode to develop a consolidated package for both domestic and international tourism also augurs well for India’s hospitality industry that has long grappled with infrastructure bottlenecks.”

Gaurav Bhatia, Executive Director, Bird Group
“The Union Budget announcement of  50 additional airports will augment the need for enhanced air connectivity. It will also have a tremendous rub-off effect on  the allied sectors such as catering, ground handling and MRO, among others and  in effect generating more employment  both directly and indirectly. It has long been India’s dream to become a global aviation hub. We can see that dream taking shape , thanks to continuous  growth in domestic aviation and such measures taken by the government to aid the sector post-Covid.”

Sabina Chopra, Co-Founder & COO, Corporate Travel & Head Industry Relations, Yatra Online Limited

“Travel and tourism sector which is projected to hit 9.9% of the country’s GDP before the end of this decade, has suffered a lot during the pandemic so we were expecting more relief from the government for accelerated revival. The 4% hike in ATF price will increase the burden on airlines, impacting the end consumer. However, on the brighter side, the announcement of highest ever railway outlay at Rs 2.4 lakh crore will help boost affordable regional connectivity and logistics of cargo freights. The development of 50 new airports, helipads, and advanced landing grounds to improve regional air connectivity will provide a tremendous boost to niche segments like religious, spiritual & wellness tourism by easing passengers commute. Further, 50 tourist destinations being developed as a whole package for domestic and international tourism should attract more foreign tourists in the country. Overall, very encouraging to see intense focus on our sector.”

The Union budget has shown positive signs for the Hospitality, Travel, and Tourism industries, the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has encouraged the states to set up a ‘Unity Mall’ in the state capital or at an attractive tourist destination in the state for the promotion and sale of ‘One District, One product’ (ODOP) and Geographical Indication (GI) products along with other handicrafts.

Nandivardhan Jain, CEO & Founder, Noesis Capital Advisors

While the Minister announced 50 tourist destinations will be selected and developed as a whole package for domestic and international tourism, the overall development with this vision is an impetus to the sector. The FM Sitharaman stated, “Dekho Apna Desh’ initiative was launched by the Prime Minister to the middle class to prefer domestic tourism over international tourism whereas ‘Swadesh Darshan Scheme’ was launched for integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits”. Moving towards, emboldening the active participation of states, convergence of government programmes and public-private partnerships. The future seems bright and an exciting one with 50 additional airports, and helipads to be revived to increase connectivity with the budget of 3,114 crores to the union civil aviation ministry. This will further increase the passenger movement and boast the hotel room inventory across the region which will increase employment opportunities and parallelly uplift the community, promoting sustainable tourism.

Chander Baljee, Chairman and Managing Director, Royal Orchid & Regenta Hotels

In my view, the budget is very promising for our sector this year. Tourism has in some way been given the spotlight that was required for a long time. The focus on ‘Bharat Dekho’ is commendable as this is an initiative that will push Indians to explore India and see their own country like never before.

However, there are several areas, especially in the hospitality industry that have been missed. There are no loans for long terms as well as no industry status which has been our request for years.

Though tourism has been recognised as one of the drivers for the economy, yet, the suggested 50 additional airports will certainly help the industry but will take another 3-5 years to be built. The same can be said for the 50 tourist destinations that will be selected. This will take a very long-time , maybe even five to 10 years before completion.

In my view, more prominence has to be given to our industry. There should be more focus on the connectivity of airports, especially from the city centres by road or metro. Tourist places should basically have clean and hygienic toilets, which should be permitted especially where the archaeological departments do not permit it. Finally, instead of food stalls at tourist destinations, there should be proper food courts and parking facilities.

Mohit Malhotra, Chief Executive Officer, Dabur India Ltd.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s last full-fledged Union Budget before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections is a progressive, growth-oriented budget that promises to put more disposal income in the pockets of the consuming class, particularly the middle class, while focusing on building a new India with its heavy focus on capital expenditure.

The biggest positive, according to me, is the 33% increase in overall Capital Expenditure Outlay on Infrastructure Development, which will take India towards become a true global powerhouse and help urbanise the hinterland. The Government’s decision to set up a Rs 10,000 crore per year Urban Infrastructure Development Fund to be used for creating infrastructure in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities will go a long way in boosting overall consumer confidence, and also help generate employment.

The greater focus on agriculture with a new Agriculture Accelerator Fund being set up; extension of the concessional institutional credit through Kisan Credit Cards to animal husbandry and fisheries sector; and an outlay of Rs 2,200 crore towards Atmanirbhar Clean Plant Programme will provide the much-needed solutions to present-day challenges of farmers. It would also be highly beneficial for companies with a strong rural footprint and would help drive growth for the consumer products industry. Dabur has been investing ahead of the curve in strengthening its rural footprint, which today covers over 1,00,000 villages. This exercise would further gain pace, going forward.

The 7-point agenda for this year’s budget with a clear focus on building social infrastructure, reaching the last mile, driving inclusive development, green growth and harnessing the country’s youth power, ticks all the right boxes. I am certain that these measures would help reduce the gap between the haves and have nots in the country.

Her focus on empowering the middle class with the higher exemption limit and new tax slabs would provide some relief to the salaried class and put more money and more savings in the hands of the common man.

Overall, this Budget is all about maintaining continuity and accelerating economic growth. I would call it a progressive Budget that balances growth with fiscal prudence while laying down the blueprint for creating an enabling framework that would promote an Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Dipak Sanghavi, Managing Director, Nilon’s

The 2023-24 Union Budget appears to be well-balanced and forward-thinking. The Finance Minister has successfully managed to increase capital expenditure by 33% while lowering the fiscal deficit from 6.4% to 5.9%. This action will further improve the stability of the Indian economy. The investment in Capital Expenditure will enhance productivity in the long run and reduce inflation.

The food processing industry plays a crucial role in enhancing agricultural efficiency and generating income. The emphasis on promoting millet cultivation, consumption, and exports, combined with increased investment in fisheries and support for natural farming, is beneficial for crop diversification, sustainability, and nutritional improvement.

As a consumer brand, we are happy to welcome the much-needed revision in the tax slab. The revised tax slab under the new regime is a positive change as it allows more money to be in the hands of people, which can boost the economy and increase consumption in the FMCG sector.

We also anticipate other policies and reforms that will enhance the industry, such as tax incentives, streamlined clearance processes, and simplification of the GST for raw materials. All in all, this has been an inclusive budget.

Priya Thakur, Founder, Larisa Hotels and Resorts
“We are very pleased to see that the Union Budget for 2023–2024 includes funding for the development of tourist sites in India for both domestic and foreign visitors. With LaRiSa’s strong presence in popular tourist areas like Goa, Manali, Shimla, and Mussoorie, we hope to see an increase in travelers.  With a boost in infrastructure and enhanced air connectivity, we hope to welcome guests from varied locations. LarRiSa has always supported and endorsed the spirit of uplifting the local community. With the promotion of local tourist spots and spaces, it will not only result in the upliftment of these cities but will also provide more jobs and opportunities for the locals all around the year.”

Vikram Agarwal, Managing Director, Greendot Health Foods Pvt. Ltd. 

“It is a very promising and encouraging budget that ensures to be a stepping stone for a strong economy. India is on the path to become a developed economy from a developing economy. This budget ensures that we would grow at a steady rate of 6.5% to 7% which is the fastest in the world.
The reduction in import duty will offer relief to import and export companies and boost domestic manufacturing.
The new tax regime which has been curated to benefit the all class, It would leave more disposable money in the wallet which would boost spending and overall GDP.
The initiative of an Agriculture Fund to be set up will boost the agri related Industries, Investment in Agri Startups would help to bring fresh ideas and innovation in the agri space. Renewed focus on Millets would make India a global hub for millets which is catching up globally.

Infra space has been allotted an outlay of 10 lakh crores would ensure that we have an infrastructure at par with the global peers which would attract a lot of International Capital.

Overall it’s a very balanced budget.”

Hoshang Garivala, Country General Manager – India, Ascott International Management India Pvt Ltd

“The announcement made in Union Budget 2023 of increased allocation of funds towards the development of tourist infrastructure and promotion of tourism is expected to boost the hospitality sector’s growth while attracting more tourists to the country. The Ascott Limited, a leading hospitality company in the serviced residences space, welcomes the government’s focus on encouraging tourism and infrastructure development. We are confident that there will be rise in demand in the apartment hotel space and will create new opportunities for the industry. The budget has provided a positive outlook for the hospitality industry, and we are eager to leverage this momentum to drive further growth in the coming year.”

Vyom Shah, Founder, Foodism

With the government introducing new policies and incentives, the hospitality industry is likely to see an increase in investments and job creation. The policies include initiatives to promote tourism in India, which will help boost the sector’s growth post-coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, the measures to support small businesses could provide much-needed relief for those struggling with the pandemic’s economic effects. These changes should create a more competitive environment for hospitality companies and help them stay competitive in the future.”

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