CHENNAI: At a time when India’s tourism sector is witnessing a drop in the growth rate of international tourist arrivals, the tourism and hospitality industry in TN hopes that the union budget on Monday would throw light on developing the sector with new initiatives.
Though the country is recording an increase in footfall of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA) with eight million international visitors have already toured India in 2015-16, which is higher by over a million in 2013-14, the Economic Survey tabled in Parliament on Friday notes that the “growth rate” of FTA has decelerated to 4.5 per cent from 10.2 per cent two years ago. “We want the Union Budget to focus on reducing service taxes for our industry as it takes a heavy toll on the visitors. Of the every hundred rupee that a tourist spends in India, nearly 75 per cent of it goes to the coffers of the Government through direct or indirect taxes,” said V K T Balan, Chairman & Managing Director of Madura Travel Service(P)Ltd.
Stressing that India has a great advantage of the large coast line that can be used for promoting tourism, he said, “Maldives woos Indian investors for their tourism sector by providing concessions in islands to build hotels, apart from other tax exemptions. But, though we have marvelous beaches we are yet to use this opportunity,” he said.
The Economic Survey report states that Foreign exchange earnings from tourism in the current fiscal (2015-16) is 19.7 billion US $. Hospitality sector wants the budget to earmark funds on enhancing security for foreign tourists visiting India, besides concession for wifi facilities offered in hotels. Hony. Secretary of South India Hotels & Restaurants Association (SIHRA) T Nataraajan says it is the need of the hour as international tourists are not ready to compromise.