Footfall of foreign tourists in Bihar may have outstripped that in Goa, but it is still to find the right concoction for retaining them. With this realisation, the Bihar government has decided to dedicate its fifth Udyami panchayat for hotel and tourism industry, being held at Rajgir on Monday, to identify industry expectations and remove roadblocks constricting greater private sector participation.
The success in doing so, sources aver, would not only pave the way of tapping the true potential of the tourism sector but also result in an economic spin off for the local population, tour operators, intermediaries, hoteliers and the resource starved state.
Given the fact that the Udyami panchayat is taking place in the home district of the chief minister and also one of the important tourist destinations, trade and industry is also geared up to raise a host of issues that had been stifling the growth of the potential money spinning sector, despite its industry status.
Other than long pending issues like infrastructure development, including the call on relocation of Patna Airport to facilitate international flights, development of regional airports, night landing facilities and permission for accommodating domestic flights at Gaya International Airport, the Bihar Industries Association (BIA) will pitch for allowing hotels with a rating of 5-star and above to open casinos.
Such a step will go a long way in creating the right entertainment avenues for the foreign tourists to encourage their stay, said a tour operator adding either the beverage corporation should be asked to start the supply of wine or star hotels should be allowed to import it for serving the foreign guests.
Agreeing to the complaint of shortage of quality accommodation, also highlighted by tour operators, BIA president KPS Keshri said the government should consider relaxing height restriction in floor area ratio (FAR) and increase in the floor space index (FSI) in the development of hotels. Once through, it will increase the availability of rooms for both the domestic and foreign traveler.