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Tourism promotion meet from today

SEVERAL MAJOR players of the hospitality industry will converge at Bhopal to deliberate upon ways of promoting tourism in western India, particularly Madhya Pradesh, and to find solutions to achieve a more effective and viable government-industry partnership.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2006 15:14 IST

SEVERAL MAJOR players of the hospitality industry will converge at Bhopal to deliberate upon ways of promoting tourism in western India, particularly Madhya Pradesh, and to find solutions to achieve a more effective and viable government-industry partnership.

The 13th regional convention of Hotel and Restaurant Association (Western India) will be organised on February 17 and 18 at Hotel Jehanuma Palace here.

The theme of the convention will be, ‘Tourism: Together We Succeed’. Organising committee chairman Sunit Kothari told media persons today Governor Dr Balram Jakhar would inaugurate the convention while Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and State Tourism Minister Yashodhara Raje Scindia would be present.

Kothari emphasised Madhya Pradesh had immense potential for tourism, specially medical and heritage tourism, and there was a need to tap it effectively. About 86 lakh domestic and 1.45 lakh international tourists had frequented the State in 2004.
That was an increase of 30 per cent over the figures recorded in 2003.

He asserted medical tourism could be the next big thing in the State. “There is immense potential for medical tourism in Madhya Pradesh,’’ he maintained. He said not only were doctors here top class several of the best hospitals in the country were coming to the state. Saying that Bhopal had carved a place for itself as a popular `convention tourism’ centre with several conventions being organised here, Kothari said the number of rooms in hotels needed to be increased.

Kothari added several issues still needed to be resolved and industry was looking forward to Government to extend full cooperation and support in clearing this hurdles.

“The luxury tax in Madhya Pradesh is very high at 10 per cent while the State Government has increased State excise on alcohol to Rs 60 lakh annually form the previous Rs 50 lakh,’’ he rued.

Kothari pointed out that the excessive tax could actually lead to increased tax-evasion instead of increasing revenue of the government.He added that tax on landing and refueling aircraft in Madhya Pradesh was also very high at 28 per cent while the power problem in the State was another major deterrent for any prospective entrepreneurs trying to come to the State.

Several business sessions would be organised over the two days of the convention. The first session would be based on `regional connectivity’. Speakers would deliberate upon the importance of connectivity in tourism promotion in the context of new and low-fare airlines having set-up shop in India.

The second business session would focus on the role of the State for tourism promotion. Kothari said the Government’s role was not only of a facilitator but everyone looked towards it as an active partner in promotion.

Another session would be organised to highlight the importance of consumers’ changing preferences and converting the same into an advantage both for private sector and government.

First Published: Feb 17, 2006 15:14 IST