Budget for tourism ministry slashed by 19%, industry unhappy

Budget for tourism ministry slashed by 19%, industry unhappy

New Delhi: The budgetary allocation for the ministry of tourism has been slashed from Rs 2,500 crore in 2020-21 to Rs 2026.77 crore this year, in a blow to the tourism industry which is reeling from huge losses due to the coronavirus crisis.

The revised estimate for the ministry was Rs 1,260 crore.

The budget has allocated Rs 1088.03 crore for development of tourism infrastructure.

With the coronavirus crisis restricting not just foreign tourist footfalls into the country but also keeping domestic travellers at bay, the budget has focused on pushing funds for promotion and publicity to help woo tourists back.

Out of the Rs 668.72 crore allocated towards promotion and publicity, Rs 524.02 crore is for the overseas market and Rs 144.70 crore has been kept for domestic tourists.

"I am thankful to the PM and FM for giving us a budget which is pro-tourism. It is a budget which shows confidence in the self and a budget which is self-reliant," Union Tourism minister Prahlad Patel told reporters.

"For tourism we primarily have two schemes PRASAD and Swadesh Darshan which have both been continued this year. A new scheme of iconic sites has also been introduced. Infrastructure is significant for tourism and this budget has talked of air connectivity to smaller cities. This will benefit tourism," he said.

With the coronavirus crisis bringing the tourism sector to its knees, the union budget has allocated a sum of Rs 63.65 crore for capacity building for service providers and Rs 138.65 crore for training and skill development.

The budget has included the Development of Iconic Tourist Sites/ Destinations, a new central sector scheme, which has been framed for development of 19 identified iconic destinations in the country following a holistic approach involving infrastructure and skill development, use of technology, attracting private investment, branding and marketing.

FAITH, the policy federation of all the national associations representing the complete tourism, travel and hospitality industry of India, said lack of immediate direct support in budget has disappointed the Indian travel and tourism industry.

In a statement, Nakul Anand, Chairman-FAITH said there was a need of corpus of at least Rs 2,500 crore for global branding budget to enable sub branding of three tourism segments -- Indian MICE, Indian adventure, Indian Heritage under the Incredible India main brand to enhance each of these verticals' global outreach.

"Not addressing any of these critical measures in the budget announcement has thrown the industry into a state of shock and deep dismay. The tourism, travel and hospitality industry is battling the worst in century crisis from the impact of COVID-19, revival from which will not be seen minimum for the next financial year till vaccination is fully undertaken with no observed side effects in all source and destination markets," the statement said.  

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