On February 1, the current BJP government’s last budget (albeit an interim one) was presented and as expected before any impending election, it has been termed a populist one with doles and sops galore, yet retaining fiscal prudence. The real budget will be presented by the new dispensation around July.

Some of the budget announcements mean well for the tourism industry, especially the allocation for North East region which has been increased by 21 per cent to Rs. 58,166 crore in FY20. The North East holds immense tourism potential waiting to be tapped. Indian filmmakers will soon get access to a single window clearance mechanism for ease of shooting films. India has tremendous scope to earn from film tourism and this is a step in the right direction. The budget is set to boost individual disposable income, thanks to income tax exemptions, which is good for the travel and tourism industry in general.

The world’s biggest travel trade fair, ITB, begins in Berlin on March 6. Destination Reporter’s executive editor Athul Lal will be on the ground to report on all the developments that are certain to shape the future of this dynamic industry.

Germany, the most sought-after destination in Europe by Indians (yes, I was surprised too) is on the cover (just a coincidence) this month. With over 20,000 castles, 5000 kinds of beer, 200 types of bread, over 15 wine regions and many spectacular holiday routes, Germany has something for everyone. 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the legendary Bauhaus movement in Weimar, and is at the centre of Germany’s worldwide marketing campaign. Read all about it and select holiday routes. (Page 38)

One of India’s youngest states, Uttarakhand, armed with a visionary tourism policy and recently accorded ‘industry status’ for tourism, is aiming to go beyond religious and wildlife tourism. The government has moved ahead to promote the hill State in areas of adventure, wellness, history and heritage, and rural tourism including homestays. As Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat rightly says, ‘Tourism is the future of Uttarakhand’. (Page 26)

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Categories: Editor's Note