The Indian tourism sector requires most attention during the budget session by Arun Jaitley. It has shown a tremendous increase since 2016 and needs a lot of investment to make it even better. If you are wondering what has helped India’s tourism, it is the e-visa.
The Indian e-visa was started in 2016, which allows citizens of 161 countries and territories to apply for a visa without the need of going to the Indian embassy or high consulate or send their passport for verification. A tourist from Canada is very happy with India’s e-visa service as she got her visa in just two days. The results of starting an e-visa service are amazing. 2017 welcomed 10.7 percent more foreign tourists than 2016 and earned 15.1 percent more foreign revenue. Rajasthan saw the biggest increase in foreign tourists at 17 percent.
The foreign revenue earned was higher because of the increase in tax. Luxury hotels earlier charged 14 percent tax, but now charge 28 percent, which is the fixed GST. In July 2017, India implemented the GST. Luxury tax costs 28 percent, making India a costlier option to travel to. So hotels and resorts that charge INR 7,000 per room per night, have to charge 28 percent tax. Emma Horne, a travel agent who arranges trips to India, said that anything above INR 7,000 per night is luxury. As tour operators, even their charge has increased because of the GST. However, increase in cost has diverted foreign tourists to bed and breakfast, a sector that has grown five times in just six months.
Changing the mode of accommodation
Divya Singh, a 36-year old housewife from Rajasthan, transformed her 250-year old havelli into a bed and breakfast after she realized that tourists love her Rajasthani dishes. She says that the USP of her business is that meals are home-cooked and foreigners get to interact with locals.