The travel and tourism sector was the worst-hit among the Coronavirus pandemic. Even during the holiday season of December, people were reluctant to step out of their houses. And as the government eased the travel restrictions, the travel companies became hopeful. Moreover, the travel industry was optimistic that Budget 2021 will bring in new hopes for the quick recovery of the devastating industry. But the Budget 2021-22 did not concede to any of the expectations.

The Centre has decreased the budget allocation for the Ministry of Tourism from Rs 2500 crore in the last year’s budget to Rs 2026.77 crore this year. This 19% decrease and the lack of direct support in the 2021 budget have left the travel industry shattered and disappointed.

Though the budget has laid out proposals for supporting railways, roadways, airports, and ports, no measures have been taken to support the small companies. This may help in encouraging tourism in the long run but immediate plans should be implemented for micro tourism entrepreneurs for the critical revival of tourism. However, this had not been proposed in this year’s budget.

There were no announcements related to tax reductions in tourism earnings in order to ensure the recovery of the tourism sector post-COVID. Moreover, some missions should have been activated abroad in each and every country to ensure maximum reach. With that said, to enhance the global outreach, there should be separate funding for the verticals like Indian adventure, Indian heritage, and MICE. Not only this would enhance tourism but also help in the sustainable and responsible development of adventure and cultural tourism.
The pandemic has left the travel and tour operators in despair. So, in order to protect their businesses, it was critical to come up with a plan to ensure their survival in the future. Additionally, there was a need to improve the infrastructure and increase the number of high- quality accommodations in hotels and rest houses.

Since no such proposals were made in this year’s budget, the tourism industry is in a state of deep dismay. The tourism and travel industry is already trying to overcome the losses suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide lockdown, and now the 19% decrease in the budgetary allocation this year has further worsened the situation.

Undoubtedly, the tourism industry will fully recover only after the vaccination is undertaken in the entire country, which is not possible until the next financial year. Though the tourism sector is trying to reach out to the government stakeholders in order to come out of this recession period, everything is going in vain. Moreover, the budget announcements in February have snatched the revival opportunities from the tourism industry and left it to die in the crisis of the century.