FAITH hopes for a path-breaking budget for tourism industry

New Delhi, Jan 14 (IANS): FAITH, the policy federation of all the national associations representing the complete tourism, travel, and hospitality industry of India, is looking forward to the Union Budget FY 21-22 with great expectations.

FAITH (Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality) associations have been vigorously interacting with Ministries of Tourism, and Finance and the NITI Aayog at various levels to hope that the budget not only pulls tourism in India out of the recessionary conditions but also enables Indian tourism industry to claim its rightful leadership place.

To ensure that there is a shared tourism vision across the Centre and state level, FAITH has proposed the creation of a National Tourism Council of Chief Ministers headed by the Prime Minister, along with the Tourism Minister. That should be supported by a common industry status across the country for the complete tourism industry by putting it in the concurrent list.

As the tourism industry is fully recognised at par with merchandise exports, FAITH has recommended export earnings be made tax free and also incidence of taxes in tourism earnings be zero rated. Additionally, SEIS of 10 per cent to all foreign exchange earning members in tourism be made applicable for 5 years to ensure a post-Covid recovery.

A Global MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) Bidding Fund is required to be set up with Rs 500 crore to double India's MICE share. Indian missions abroad in each country should be activated with tourism resources for maximum reach. This needs to be supported with corpus of least Rs 2,500 crore for a global branding budget to enable sub-branding of three tourism segments i.e. Indian MICE, Indian Adventure, Indian Heritage under the Incredible India main brand, the industry body said.

To ensure that tourism industry becomes a mainstay domestic industry, there needs to be a concerted strategy, it said. There needs to be an income tax exemption on travelling within India, income tax credits for upto Rs 1.5 lakh when spending with GST registered domestic tour operators, travel agents, hoteliers, and transporters anywhere within the country.

It is also needed to incentivise Indian corporates to undertake domestic MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences & events) by offering a 200 per cent weighted income tax expense benefit to Indian companies which are undertaking MICE events in India.

A Natural & Cultural Heritage Restoration Fund must be set up with a corpus of at least Rs 2,000 crore which encourages sustainable and responsible development around each vertical of adventure tourism & cultural tourism. This will also be enabled by a truly seamless tourist transportation experience standardising all tourism transportation taxes making them payable at a single point which will facilitate the ease of doing business.

Tourism can drive GDP through capex spending and to increase the intensity of high-quality hotel accommodation in India and mice, all hotels & MICE venues across the country need to be tagged as vital social infrastructure, it said.



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