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Tourism: Hoteliers want tax relief

THE HOTEL AND Restaurant Association?s (H&RA) 13th regional convention concluded here today with demands for a four per cent rate of Value Added Tax (VAT), if implemented in MP, for the hotel industry and reduction in State excise duty on bar licence from the present Rs 6 lakh to about Rs 3 lakh annually.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2006 15:24 IST

THE HOTEL AND Restaurant Association’s (H&RA) 13th regional convention concluded here today with demands for a four per cent rate of Value Added Tax (VAT), if implemented in MP, for the hotel industry and reduction in State excise duty on bar licence from the present Rs 6 lakh to about Rs 3 lakh annually.

Convention’s organising chairman Sunit Kothari said the association would try and convince the State Government to consider its demands in a positive way and accept them for the benefit of the industry and further promotion of tourism in the state.

“We want rate of VAT applicable on hotel industry in MP to be four per cent and also annual bar licence charges should be brought down to about Rs 3 lakh,’’ Kothari maintained.

He added that the entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry also hoped that bureaucratic hurdles being faced by them in the State for proposals and projects would be cleared in the future and the procedures would be further simplified and expedited.

Meanwhile, several resolutions were passed on the concluding day of the conference. The H&RA decided to extend more support to the State Government in its plans to promote tourism. The delegates echoed a strong need of improving regional connectivity at low-cost while soliciting the Union Government’s support too in that effort.

The convention decided to make all-out efforts to promote at least seven important tourist destinations in MP. Improving the rail, road and air connectivity to these destinations would be one of the major tasks at hand, the delegates maintained. The convention concluded that MP had immense tourism potential and steps should be taken to further popularise ‘cruise tourism’ here.

Earlier, during the business session on ‘changing consumer’s preference’ Kesari tours Pvt Ltd Director Sudhir Patil emphasised the importance of ethics in the hospitality industry. He added that introduction of ‘no-frill’ airlines was the need of the hour to promote tourism. He asserted that there should be parity between airfares and rates charged by hotels.
IATO Executive Director Gour Kunjilal stressed on creating awareness about a destination.

He added the perception and price of a tourist spot were crucial factors for its popularity. Pointing out that India was still misconceived to be a long-haul destination by many foreign travelers, Kunjilal said that concerted efforts were necessary to correct that image.

Lamenting the fact that India was an over-priced destination, he pointed out that high rates of taxes coupled with excessive hotel rates were mainly responsible for that. Kunjilal stated that MP had all the makings of hot tourist destination and there was just need to portray it in the right perspective.

Meanwhile, turning the topic on its head, Deccan Airways Chief Revenue Officer and Head Commercial John K Kuruvilla asserted that there was actually no need to change the consumer’s preferences but just to tap the already existing preferences in a better way.

He added that there were immense opportunities waiting to be tapped and the need of the hour was to approach business in an unconventional manner. Referring to Air Deccan’s strategy, Kuruvilla maintained that despite doubts expressed on its marketing techniques by many people, the company had been making tremendous progress since its inception.

First Published: Feb 19, 2006 15:24 IST