Budget should consider a single slab below 12% GST to boost the hospitality business
Cost of doing business in the hospitality industry is capital intensive as hospitality industry creates lots of jobs to the locals. We need to boost tourism and one of the impacts caused recently is GST. I hope the budget considers a single slab below 12% GST to boost the hospitality business; most of the countries like Singapore, Thailand, and Japan have taxes between 5 to 10%. Jobs created in 2016 were at 40.3 million and tourism contributes 9.3% of total jobs in the country. Visa on Arrival needs to be extended on the applicable stay days and also new countries. We are placed at 40th place in tourism arrivals to the country, India has tremendous potential for tourism with culture, heritage, beaches, hills, backwaters, Ayurveda, medical tourism, & the numbers of arrivals does not match the potential we have. The budget should also have a decent investment to boost tourism infrastructure at par with the revenue we generate which was pegged at USD 208 Billion in 2016.
We also need tourism based start-up funds or in general, the R&D grants for product startups as it would be helpful to push economy up and I hope this budget has made these considerations.
A single-window policy to build home-stays
Within tourism there are various stakeholders, namely the owners, the employees, the management, infrastructure and of course, the guests. We would like all their needs to be addressed, starting with employment at the local level, better training and building (capacity building), and the promotion of tourist inflow to offbeat locations (the heartlands of India, for example), making sure that investments flow to local entrepreneurs.
A single-window policy to build home-stays and zero-tax at the local entrepreneurship level are also all things that the hospitality industry would welcome. The most pressing concern right now though is the need for policies around ‘Green Tourism’, namely zero-taxation on waste management, solar panels, support for green water harvesting and other energy-efficient programs.
Ease regulations and create a holistic tourism infrastructure
The online travel operators are experiencing a radical change in terms of growth and this is possible with the continuous government support. Our wish list from the upcoming Budget 2019 will be to lessen the tax burden, ease the regulations and create a holistic tourism infrastructure to attain an annual growth of 15-20% in the coming years. The increasing budgetary provision will certainly boost the digital and payment infrastructure for high level transaction sectors. The growing disposable income in the market is changing the pattern of consumption which will eventually generate immense potential for direct and indirect employment.