The Union Budget 2015 came by and as expected it created a post Budget stream of debates, discussions and dialogues across sectors and industries, media houses and financial centres. Like other industries, hospitality was no exception to the rule. Though experts have termed the Budget as growth oriented and progressive and some industries have gained from the same, the hospitality industry expressed mixed reactions on what was offered by the finance minister. The industry expressed its disappointment, especially with respect to the increase in Service Tax (ST). The hospitality sector was expecting a growth based Budget with specific announcements including rationalisation of the tax structure to easening of business through single window clearance. With the rise in service tax to 16 per cent (including two per cent Swachh Bharat tax), the already bleeding hospitality industry is once again at the suffering end. Hospitality associations such as HRAWI, have clearly expressed their dissatisfaction and have termed the rise in ST as rather irrational. They felt let down after being rather hopeful. Unless the government recognises the issues of the hospitality industry and becomes sensitive to its needs and pleas, they feel the future will be rather tough for those in business. On an optimistic note, there are leaders who felt that the visa on arrival announcement will bring in the desired movement in tourism and in turn will lead to a growth in business.
This move will also lead to an increase in number of global travellers coming into the country. With such kind of global exposure, India will also need to be prepared to cater to the clientele with improved skill sets and knowledge. It is time for us to be in touch with tomorrow, and here it is critical for schools of learning and training to be imparting the skills and education that fits in well with the future. Effective and futuristic teaching and training is the need of the hour. Constant knowledge upgradation, education exchange programmes, training, research and development are crucial for the future of the industry. Technology and social media have changed the dynamics of the business and education hubs need to keep pace with the same. There are forward thinking institutions who are investing in the right curriculum and culture to give the hospitality industry the desired leaders of the future.