We have very high expectations from this year Union Budget for tourism and hospitality industry. We can assume that Union Budget 2018-19 can be a big push towards increasing the digitization with high-tech solutions. Also, we are looking forward that new reforms supporting the industry come up soon. While the government is aggressively marketing brand India globally, it is imperative to focus towards infrastructure (pan-India airports must be fully functional), digital infrastructure and the speed of clearances of hotel projects will have a positive impact on our business.
The business of hotels and restaurants which were affected by the liquor ban has gone down by at least 40 per cent. It is also affecting corporate meeting, event which are the major contributor to the hotel turnover. Also, the occupancy of tourist in Goa for the festive season (Christmas and New Year 2018) was also highly low comparatively to the last year. So, probably liquor license policies need to be simplified for the star category hotels to attract more tourists.
As an Hotelier, we expect the government to focus on building a stronger ecosystem for the travel and hospitality industry. A simplified regulatory environment is required that can attract additional investment. Competition among investors will help New Hoteliers to have more control over the terms of the contract and continuously spur the innovation economy of the country. Further, hoteliers hope for tax holiday in the underdeveloped tourism areas like Northeast. Lastly, we expect GST to be further reduced for budget hotels.
(Sarbendra Sarkar is Founder and Managing Director, Cygnett Hotels & Resort)
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