Tourism, hospitality sectors neglected in budget, says travel federation
The travel industry, disappointed after the budget announcement on February 1, said the government has completely neglected travel, tourism and hospitality sectors that need an urgent boost for revival.
Tourism has been one of the most severely affected industries due the Covid-19 pandemic leading to lockdown. The industry continues to struggle as international borders remain shut and domestic travel is yet to benefit the travel companies that are running into losses. Apart from this, many travel companies have had to close down their business last year.
Subhash Goyal, general secretary of Federation of Associations in Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH), said the budget was a good opportunity for the government to revive the tourism industry and save around 30,000- 40,000 jobs that are on the verge of extinction. According to Goyal, 75 million people are directly and indirectly employed in the tourism industry.
Goyal, however, added, “There are a few good things (in the budget) which may indirectly help the tourism industry, like more tourist coaches and trains in the railways. Rupees 35,000 crore on vaccines and medical infrastructure will indirectly boost medical tourism. Rupees 15,700 crore for the ministry of micro small and medium enterprises (MSME) may help a few small operators indirectly too.”
The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) said the budget has focused more on spending to enable economic growth through infrastructure roads and financial remedies.
“It is inappropriate on the part of the finance minister to completely ignore travel, tourism and the hospitality business during the budget, said Jay Bhatia, vice president, TAAI.
Bhatia added that TAAI had proposed single employee benefits under one provision which cares for labour welfare, social security, health, safety, family, etc.
“We are happy to note prima facie that with the implementation of the four labour codes, for the first time globally, social security benefits will extend to gig and platform workers. Minimum wages will apply to all categories of workers, and they will all be covered by the employees state insurance corporation. Women will be allowed to work in all categories and also in the night-shifts with adequate protection.”