The first quarter of every year witnessed the presentations of the Union Budget at the Indian Parliament and the state government budgets in which most of the states gave importance to the tourism industry. Last couple of decades many Indian states including Kerala, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Karnataka are allotted comparatively good allocations for the tourism sector. Unfortunately, this budget allocation is minimal compared to the revenue earned through the tourism sector in our country, and overall income of many states, and the contribution to respective GDPs.
Ms. Nirmala Sitaraman, Union Minister for Finance Minister, Government of India, has allocated INR 2400 crore in the Union Budget 2023-34, which was presented in the first week of February 2023 at Parliament to develop 50 more airports, heliports, water aerodromes, and other landing areas. This, along with the Rs2.40 lakh crores allocated for railways, is expected to boost tourism by improving connectivity.
Recognizing the travel and tourism industry’s role in India’s economic revival, the budget prioritizes new tourist destinations, with plans to develop 50 new locations as tourist-friendly spots.
The budget introduces several schemes to encourage domestic tourism, including the “Dekho Apna Desh,” “Swadesh Darshan Scheme,” and “Vibrant Villages Program.” The “Swadesh Darshan Scheme” will establish theme-based tourist circuits, while the “Dekho Apna Desh” scheme aims to encourage the middle class to travel domestically. The Vibrant Village Program aims to build tourism infrastructure and leverage local culture, traditional knowledge, and heritage to promote tourism.
The Amrit Dharohar scheme will preserve and conserve wetlands to promote ecotourism. Unity malls at well-known tourist destinations will promote local handicraft products, featuring GI items and the state’s unique ODOPS (one district, one product).
The budget for 2023 benefits the middle class and the tourism industry by reducing tax rates and simplifying the income tax slab structure, freeing up resources for personal growth and driving consumer spending and economic growth.
The government’s investments in rural tourism and infrastructure efforts to support the tourism sector will create jobs and preserve cultural legacies, attracting more tourists to India.
Telangana Government has allocated the highest amount to the tourism sector among Indian states in the general budget for the year 2023-24 presented in state assemblies. A sum of Rs 881.77 crore has been proposed by Finance Minister T Harish Rao in the Budget for 2023-24 for Tourism, Art, and culture. The Andhra Pradesh budget has allocated an amount of Rs.291 crore for the Youth Advancement, Tourism & Culture Department for the year 2023-24.
Goa Tourism will receive INR 262 crore in the new budget which was presented by Mr. Pramod Sawant, Chief Minister of Goa, who highlighted his government’s intention to focus on the project ‘Goa beyond beaches’, wherein other areas of the coastal state will be explored.
The Kerala Government budget presented by Mr. K.N. Balagopal, Minister for Finance has allocated Rs 362.15 crore to the tourism sector in Kerala. the initiatives such as launching a project titled ‘Work from Holiday Home’, Converting eight tourist locations to world standards, and establishing a history museum at Kappad in Kozhikode are some of the announced in the budget for the tourism industry.
In Uttar Pradesh, the budget allocated Rs 10 lakh crore for augmenting the tourism industry in the state which hopes to create 20,000 jobs in the next 5 years, under UP Tourism Policy 2022. Mr. Suresh Kumar Khanna, Minister for Finance, Uttar Pradesh stressed the state government’s priorities in building a series of corridors for easy access to religious places. UP Tourism department has given Provision of `122 crore for the development of tourism infrastructure and Culture and`350 crore for the establishment of Vedanta Peeth. Uttarakhand Government also gave importance to the development of tourism with an annual outlay of INR 302 crore for tourism and Rs 63 crore for Uttarakhand State Tourism Development Council.
For the years 2023-24. The Karnataka state Budget has announced ₹ 500 crore for tourism development.
The hospitality and travel sectors have been hoping for continued government support to recover from the pandemic’s effects.
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