The hospitality and travel industry expressed disappointment as the sector did not even finding a mention in the finance minister's speech."The Budget did not give the hospitality and tourism industry the importance that it deserves, specially when the country expects our industry to generate more and more jobs," Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India president M P Purushothaman said.
He said there is nothing in the budget to aid sectoral growth and capacity expansion for "us to maintain the competitive edge as a cost effective tourist destination".
Individual hotel players also expressed the same view. "The overall budget is extremely balanced but as an industry it is disappointing for us. We had expected incentives in the form of tax benefits. We had demanded that service tax be completely abolished. That has not happened," Bharat Hotels Ltd chairperson and managing director Jyotsna Suri said.
"It is a disappointment, but the Finance Minister's announcement to allocate more on infrastructural development will benefit us indirectly," she added.
The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) also expressed unhappiness over the budget. "Not a single item regarding the sector has been addressed. There is no mention of export industry status for hospitality and tourism, no tax holiday as demanded, no rationalisation of Section 80 HHD of the Income Tax Act under which travel operators could invest their savings in the industry," TAAI President Rajji Rai said.
"The travel industry is one of the biggest employers. The government must wake up to the reality that the precursor to economic revival is the tourism sector," Rai added.
Some industry players, said that the overall thrust on infrastructure development may benefit the sector indirectly.