Rakshit Desai, Managing Director, FCM Travel Solutions - Indian Subsidiary of Flight Centre Travel Group.
"The tourism industry is a crucial contributor to India's GDP and we appreciate that the Union Budget 2020-21 presented today by the honourable Finance Minister Niramala Sitharaman reflects a potential for growth in domestic and inbound tourism. We see a clear focus on revitalizing the aviation and tourism sector which will also boost employment in the industry. Several initiatives like enhancing the role of AI and machine learning will make the industry more technologically competent and help us become future ready. The decision to add 100 more airports by 2022 under the Udaan scheme is a much anticipated support to the sector. It will further enhance regional air connectivity, making travel affordable and accessible across the country. With regards to the road connectivity, the central government's plan to construct 2500 access control highways, 9000 km eco-development corridors, 200 coastal and port roads, 2000 km strategic highways along with the Delhi-Mumbai expressway and two other corridors to be completed by 2023 are commendable initiatives for bridging the urban-rural divide and significantly bolstering growth in the sector. Allocation of Rs 3,100 crore to Cultural Ministry for developing five archaeological sites as iconic sites with on-site museums along with a tribal museum in Ranchi are laudable and will impact the tourism industry positively in the coming years. Thankfully tourism is now being viewed as an important growth driver of the economy.