Hospitality cos cheer focus on island tourism even as some ‘disappointed’ with no infra tag

New Delhi (TIP)- Hospitality industry cheered Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s focus on promoting island tourism in the interim budget, saying it reflects a strategic vision for the long-term growth of the travel and tourism sector, even as some players expressed disappointment over the sector not getting infrastructure status.
“Overall, a good nation-first budget. However, the hospitality industry is disappointed that infra status for the industry did not come through. A missed opportunity for an industry that can significantly grow contribution to the GDP and employment as well as the much needed foreign exchange for the country,” said Sanjay Sethi, CEO and Managing Director, Chalet Hotels Limited.
“We are optimistic about additional futuristic support from the government in granting infrastructure status to hospitality and tourism, which will help us achieve a long-awaited status. We foresee that this will have a multiplier impact and drive significant investment from the private sector,” said K B Kachru, Chairman Emeritus & Principal Advisor, Radisson Hotel Group, South Asia.
Rajesh Magow, Co-founder & Group CEO, MakeMyTrip, said the commitment to bolster domestic tourism through initiatives spanning rail and air travel, coupled with the ongoing emphasis on tourism-led destinations, particularly in the realm of island tourism and spiritual tourism, reflects a strategic vision for the long-term growth of the travel and tourism sector.
Pradeep Shetty, President, The Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India, said the enhanced focus of the government for promotion of MICE, religious tourism, iconic tourism centres and domestic tourism will lay the foundation of tourism development in the Amrit Kaal and equip the sector to achieve the ambitious target of welcoming 100 million tourists by 2047.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said projects for port connectivity, tourism infrastructure and amenities will be taken up “on our islands, including Lakshadweep” to address the “emerging fervour” for domestic tourism in the country. While presenting the interim Union Budget, she also said “our economic strength has made the country an attractive destination for business and conference tourism”. The mention of Lakshadweep by the finance minister is significant because Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the island on January 4. He had tried snorkelling and said Lakshadweep has to be on the list of visit for those who wish to embrace the adventurer in them.
A row erupted on social media when a minister and some other leaders in the Maldives used derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Modi after he posted a video of him on a pristine beach in Lakshadweep.

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