India is a week away from announcing the 2015 annual budget, and Madhavan Menon, Managing Director, Thomas Cook India took the opportunity to spell out the priorities the government should be having in this session, that will benefit an industry that makes up 6.8 percent of our GDP.

 

“The government would do well to focus on key areas in the tourism sector in Budget 2015,” Menon said.

 

Mr. Menon had some rather specific recommendations to make. The wish-list spanned across a wide spectrum, like coercing the government towards investing in infrastructure; developing untapped geographic as well as conceptual territories- like building waterways-cruising scene, increasing out-door adventure activities, food festival, even medical facilities for garnering medical tourist traffic; standardization of the taxes and tolls across the state borders, notifying ATF (Aviation Turbine Fuel) as a ‘declared good’ to bring some relief to the already burdened aviation industry, and of course, granting this Rs 2,17,810 crore industry- most of which is foreign currency- the export status.

 

But most importantly, what is the biggest blot in the name of the Indian tourism scene- is the way our country has treated its female guests. Mr. Menon emphasized on the need for upping safety measures for women. In the wake of the recent attacks on women travelers from Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland across the Indian map, governments all over the world have instructed their women not to take trips to India “unless it is absolutely necessary”

 

All these factors are negatively impacting a high potential income generator, according to the WTTC Economic impact 2014 Report. More specifically, India ranked a mere 135 (out of 184 countries), in terms of relative size- contribution to GDP in 2013.

 

This spectacular land has a plethora of life changing experiences and vivid perspectives to living life to offer- which is everything an avid traveler is looking for. And the fact that Prime Minister Modi’s manifesto realizes that tourism can be majorly capitalized upon, has put enough spotlight on the Travel & Tourism, for its pleas to be heard.

 

“We now look forward to effective manifestation via strong representation in Finance Minister Jaitley’s Budget 2015-16,” he says.

 

Original: Firstpost

[Featured Picture Courtesy: Bangkok Post]