The Telegraph
Monday , May 19 , 2014
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Hospitality awaits boosters

Calcutta, May 18: The hospitality industry is upbeat about the sector’s outlook following a change of government at the Centre.

The industry expects pro-tourism initiatives from a Narendra Modi-led NDA government considering BJP had identified tourism as a focus area in its election manifesto.

“We are encouraged by the outlook of the BJP towards tourism. It has been identified as the five pillars of the country’s future growth in their manifesto. We hope the sector gets its due importance as it not only offers an avenue for employment, but also plays a key role in tax revenue and foreign exchange earnings,” said S.M. Shervani, president of apex industry body Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India.

Shervani said growth of the industry had stagnated in the last few years with average room rates declining on account of low demand and rising supply of rooms.

“We hope that this is corrected,” Shervani said, adding that the industry is also looking forward to greater availability of land for projects, lower taxes and easier licensing norms.

Sarabjit Singh, senior vice-president of the Indian Association of Tour Operators, said the sector was hoping for an improved pace in project implementation.

“The mandate in favour of a Narendra Modi-led government is a positive step for the hospitality industry. We have seen the pace of project implementation in Gujarat and we hope the same pace is reflected at the Centre,” he said.

The industry expects the implementation of the proposed visa-on-arrival scheme and electronic travel authorisation for countries. The scheme was planned to be implemented by October.

“The government plans to introduce a visa-on-arrival scheme for 140 countries from the middle of this year. This should lead to faster growth and higher employment opportunities in the hospitality sector,” Vijay Dewan, managing director of Park Hotels, said.

“We hope that the scheme is implemented within the next three months. This will significantly boost foreign tourist arrival in the winter season,” said Singh.