Union Budget 2015/16 to focus on tourism
Lauded by economists as being a sensible, pro-business plan, the Union Budget 2015-16 has shown a commitment towards the tourism industry. The Visa on Arrival scheme introduced a year back for 43 countries has been increased to 150 countries in phases. This is a big step towards boosting tourism in India and increasing the country’s share in international tourism to more than 1%.
Along with the e-visas introduced in this Union budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that the focus now will be on the development of World Heritage sites. Sites like Leh Palace, Elephanta Caves, Hampi, Churches and Convents of Old Goa, and many others will be made more tourist-friendly. Facilities like landscaping, signage, toilets and parking among other amenities will be restored and made available.
A spokesperson from a major travel e-commerce site said, “This year’s Union Budget would definitely boost tourism for the country and will give a competitive advantage to India compared to other destinations in South Asia and the Middle East.” While this comes as good news, the industry expressed disappointment at the increase in service tax from 12.4% to 14%.
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