The Madhya Pradesh government has amended its tourism policy and decided to stop levying luxury tax on hotels charging less than Rs 3,000 per day for a room, MP tourism and culture minister Surendra Patwa said on Friday.
He was speaking at tourism department’s presentation at Global Investors' Summit. "Some amendments have been made in the tourism policy this year to encourage investments. There is lot of scope for religious tourism, water tourism and wildlife tourism in the state," Patwa said.
He also said that following the efforts made by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the Indore-Dubai flight service by Emirates airline is expected to start in December.
He said the number of tourists were increasing every year. From around 1 crore in 2006-07, it had increased to 6.31 crore this year.
Later, experts from the field of hospitality called for removal of bottlenecks to boost tourism in Madhya Pradesh.
Owner of Lemon Tree chain of hotels, Sumit Kothari urged the government to remove service tax from hotels and restaurants as it was too taxing on the consumers. He also said all small local permissions needed for running a hotel should be made online. "We are tired of making rounds of babus who take their own sweet time to do the job," he said.
He said the tourism department should market Madhya Pradesh as a tourism destination aggressively through social media. He said they should target the rich tourists who have the capacity to spend $1000 per day and avoid 'trash' tourists, who spend less and consume resources. He also suggested improving air connectivity from South Asian countries and introduction of luxury trains in the state.
President of Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India, SM Shervani said the cost of room construction has to come down and for that rules had to be tweaked to allow more construction in a particular area. He also pointed out anomaly of the Central government of classifying investment of over Rs 200 crore in a hotel as infrastructure projects. "Are two and three start hotels not infrastructure?" he asked.
An expert in the field of hospitality, Ashish Gupta said Madhya Pradesh needs to be more aggressive in its advertisements and said the aim should be to see that it becomes the first entry point of foreign tourists.
Earlier, tourism secretary Hari Ranjan Rao also spoke at the event. MP Tourism Development Corporation managing director Raghvendra Singh conducted the programme.