Giving a boost to low-cost tourism before the Commonwealth Games begin, the government has decided to categorise bed-and-breakfast (B&B) units as non-commercial entities across the country. This special categorisation is now available only to B&B units in Delhi.
The sub-committee on infrastructure on Friday approved a proposal of the Tourism Ministry to treat B&B units across country as non-commercial units. This, government officials say, would entitle owners of B&B units to several tax exemptions and provide employment avenues to lakhs.
The Tourism Ministry had last year initiated a pilot project in Delhi, inviting citizens to provide their homes for B&B facilities. It has launched similar campaigns in Pune and Hyderabad.
"Shortly, other towns and cities will be asked to promote the concept, which is new to India but very successful in the developed world," a government official said.
The government believes the new scheme will offer greater choice to tourists and solve the problem of shortage of rooms. In Delhi alone, a shortage of 20,000 rooms is estimated and there is not enough space to develop new hotels.
Under the scheme, B&B certification would be of two types — gold and silver. A committee will inspect homes and issue certificates, based on facilities being provided. The scheme stipulates specific requirements on standards, facilities and services to be offered to guests for gold or silver classification.
The committee is also considering a ministry proposal for a tax holiday on budget hotels in Buddhist towns and religious places like Nanded in Maharashtra.