Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director, Bird Group and Member, CII National Committee on Civil Aviation said that
The budget for 2014-15 is definitely better than expected from the perspective of travel and tourism industry although the Finance Minister has kept the focus on infrastructure funding, health and education. “The decision by the government to develop new airports in Tier-I and Tier-II Cities is definitely a very positive move for the sector as I see that growth in aviation sector will come from regional travel which will add the much needed dimension to the industry. Another positive move for tourism industry has been the service tax exception for tour operators. Due to the service tax, Indian packages lose out on account of competitiveness in the sector. Countries which are competing with India like China, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Singapore offer competitive prices which Indian packages fail to offer. Now with the exemption of this tax, we would be able to offer competitive rates and packages. This in turn will give a huge boost to this industry,” he said.
He further said that the Cabinet’s decision of introducing Electronic Travel Authorisation (e-Visa) in a phased manner at nine airports will provide the much expected boost to the tourism sector in India. A strong focus on regional infrastructure and connectivity will also benefit in bringing in investments from foreign airlines as well for generating employment.