Strongly opposing the Amritsar municipal corporation's (MC) proposed move to collect 'beautification charges' from all categories of hotels here, the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab on Friday demanded rollback of the proposal.
The association office bearers discussed the MC's move at a meeting and raised their concerns on the proposal, which was cleared by the MC and could be enforced anytime.
At the meeting, association chairman Naresh Sethi noted that the hotel industry in Punjab was over-burdened by taxes and was not in a position to bear any fresh dose of tax.
He pledged full support to the local hoteliers on the issue.
Association president APS Chatha informed the members that the MC had given a go ahead to the proposal seeking to collect additional amount from the hotels for the sake of development and beautification of the city.
According to the MC proposal, five and four star hotels will have to pay Rs 200 per day per room booked, which is Rs 100 for three star hotels and Rs 50 for all lesser categories hotels in the city.
Chatha claimed that the hotels in the city had been struggling for survival as a result rooms were being booked at discounted rates.
"At times, hotels charge almost half of the actual rent of a room,"he added.
"Tourism is declining at a constant rate due to lack of support from the administration, which does not, in any manner, assists in the growth of the tourism in Punjab's most important town. Most of the projects that can contribute in pulling tourists to the city are either nonoperational or delayed like Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Fort, Ram Teerath, Harike Wetland etc,"he added.
Chatha pointed out the poor facilities being provided to tourists visiting the Attari border for the Beating Retreat ceremony.
"Unhygienic eatables are being sold at roadsides kiosks at the border, but the administration hardly bothers,"he added.
"Like Agra, Amritsar also attracts a huge number of visitors daily. Tourism is an essential and integral part of the Amritsar's economy and hotels and restaurants are the leading contributors to the government's exchequer,"he added.
Demanding the withdrawal of the 'beautification charges', Sethi said: "The city hotels are bearing the highest tax burden, with all kinds of taxes like luxury tax, service tax, VAT and a host of other municipal and administrative taxes being paid. Some of these taxes are unjust and need to be withdrawn."