The government of India started issuing e-visas to citizens of 161 countries from December 2016 onwards. In 2017, India saw a 10.7 percent increase in international tourism with the improvement seen in Rajasthan tourism at 17 percent. Despite the GST coming into action, international tourists didn’t stop coming to India. GST made India a costlier destination than usual.
One of the visitors, Rebecca, Canada, said that the e-visa system is fantastic because she got her visa in two days. She didn’t need to go to the Indian embassy nor had to send her passport for the same. Foreign exchange earnings increased by 15.1 percent in 2017. Before implementing GST, the luxury tax was 14 percent, but since July 2017, the tax has increased to 28 percent. So if hotels and resorts have priced their rooms at INR 7,000 or more, people will have to pay a 28 percent GST. Below that, it is 18 percent GST. As travelers avoid staying at these resorts because of the high costs, a whole new type of accommodation is flourishing.
Bed and breakfasts
In the past three years, hostels and bed and breakfasts have increased by five times in Rajasthan. The state is a favorite among all types of international travelers ranging from budget to luxury tourists. A housewife from Rajasthan, Divya Singh, transformed her 250 years old haveli into bed and breakfast. Her family still lives there. She uses her age-old traditional cooking to cook for her guests. She says that they love interacting with the family and know about India’s history. Interacting with family and getting the home-cooked meal is the USP of her bed and breakfast.
The tourism department of India aims at investing more than INR 9,000 crore over the next three years. It will create 40,000 more jobs over the years. The Indian government will also be focusing on improving services for domestic travelers.