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Budget Allocation for Tourism in FY 2018-19 sees more than 20% increase

The Union Budget 2018-19 presented by Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance, Government of India in the Parliament proposed an estimated budget allocation of INR 2,150 cr for the Ministry of Tourism. The allocation is more than 20% increase compared to revised estimate of INR 1,775 cr in the last budget. On the other hand, the budget allocation for the Ministry of Civil Aviation also witnessed an increase, from INR 2,702 cr to INR 6,602 cr.

Major proposal in the Union Budget 2018-19 includes the proposal of converting 10 identified and prominent tourist destinations into iconic and model destinations by adopting a holistic approach of development with the support of the private sector. The Finance Minister also proposed schemes to enhance the visitor experience at 110 Model Monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) under the National Heritage City Augmentation scheme of the government.

Among other proposals he touched upon in his budget speech include scheme to promote Seaplane both for tourism as well as to handle emergency situations. The Minister also proposed establishment of Ropeways as part of improving infrastructure.


Air travel cheaper than using auto-rickshaws

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha Saturday claimed that air travel in the country was now cheaper than travel by auto-rickshaws on per kilometre basis. He was speaking at the 27th International Management Conference of the Indore Management Association (IMA). "In today's India, the fares of airplanes are lower than that of autorickshaws. Some people will say that I'm talking nonsense, but this is true," Sinha said. Explaining the mathematics behind his claim, Sinha said, "These days, passengers spend only Rs five per kilometre on air travel from Indore to Delhi. But if you take an autorickshaw in this city, then you need to spend a relatively higher price of Rs eight to ten per kilometre."

The minister claimed that more people were opting for air travel because the country had the cheapest fares in the world and added that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had remarked that a man wearing slippers is also now flying. Sinha said that four years ago the number of people travelling by air was 11 crore and was likely to reach 20 crore by the end of the current fiscal.


Govt. streamlines hotel classification guidelines

Hotel classification guidelines have been streamlined to make them simple, transparent and time bound. The application for classification and payments of fees has been made through digital platform only and the prevalent options of application by post and payment of fees by Demand Draft has been done away with, the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India said in a press statement. This has ensured the eradication of possibility of delay/manipulation caused by human interference. Similarly, the time limit for ensuring compliances on deficiencies of a hotel, the prevalent system had an open ended scope without any prescribed time limit. The recent amendments have included a time limit of three months, thus removing any discretion in the matter. This will ensure a time bound compliance and speedy disposal of cases. The amendments have made it clear that liquor shops/liquor stores in the premises of the hotel other than bars will not be considered for classification under star hotels "with alcohol" category, to remove any ambiguity.

It has been made mandatory for all the hotels classified under all categories to display their classification status prominently at the reception and on their websites under a separate icon on the opening page, which will display the order of classification issued by the Ministry of Tourism (MoT), Government of India.


Guwahati to be the centre for North East UDAN project

The Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati will be the centre for project UDAN in the North East region and ASEAN, Airports Authority of India (AAI). Speaking at a session on Civil Aviation at the Global Investors Summit – Advantage Assam, regional executive director Dharmendra Kumar Karma said, "Small airports will be developed in towns such as Jorhat and Tezpur in Assam under the Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) project."

Air Asia, India MD and CEO Amor Abrol said, " The development of necessary infrastructure to cater to the needs of international flight services is important and we want airports in this region to remain open and operational between 10 pm and 6 am. Air Asia is keen to connect Guwahati with airports in the neighbouring countries in the near future."


Rise in Inbound Tourism, 2017

Foreign Tourist Arrival surpasses 10 million mark for the first time with a growth rate of 15.6 % over 2016 as compared to growth rate 9.7% in 2016 over 2015. 16.97 lakh foreign tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 10.80 lakh in 2016, registering a growth of 57.2% with UK, USA, Russian Federation and Australia being the major source market.

On the basis of Nationality-wise, Port-wise data received from Bureau of Immigration (BOI), following are the important highlights regarding FTAs and FTAs on e-Tourist Visa during the month of November and December, 2017:

  • Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) has witnessed a growth of 14.4% in November 2017 and 15.2% in December 2017 compared to the corresponding period last year.
  • The percentage share of FTAs during November, 2017 among the top 06 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (16.77%) followed by USA (14.77%), UK (9.93%), Russian Fed. (4.41%), Canada (4.39%) and Australia (3.96%)
  • The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during December, 2017 among the top 06 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (19.04%) followed by USA (16.90%), UK (10.41%), Australia (5.31%), Canada (3.85) and Russian Fed. (3.79%)

Remarkable growth of 22.5% and 12.6% during 2nd and 3rd Quarter express plenty about the change in the trend and vision of traveler across globe and certainly position India as a year round destination.

USA, UK, Russian Fed and Australia continues to lead as a source of Long Haul Destination while Bangladesh topped the list as a source of Short Haul Destination followed by China, Sri Lanka, Thailand