MOT moots for lower threshold

In a bid to improve tourism infrastructure in the country, the Ministry of Tourism has proposed to lower the threshold limit from `200 crore to `50 crore for small hotel projects, informs Rashmi Verma, Secretary, MOT.

Ahana Gurung

The Ministry of Tourism is working towards giving infrastructure status to smaller units in order to meet the extensive room deficit prevailing in the country. This move will not only help smaller businesses to thrive, but will also encourage more investors to come forward and capitalise on tourism development. Making the announcement, Rashmi Verma, Secretary–Tourism, Government of India, said that the development has been proposed to the cabinet and added, “We have proposed for the threshold limit for smaller units to be set at `50 crore, which will hopefully encourage more players to invest in tourism. The country is short of about one lakh rooms and we need to meet this gap, for which we are also tying up with homestays.”

The Tourism Ministry aims to boost tourism infrastructure to meet the growing number of foreign and domestic tourists in the country. Foreign tourist arrivals in May 2017 have grown by 19.5 per cent as compared to the same month the previous year, the highest during lean season, Verma pointed out. “Even in terms of Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs), it is one of the highest,” she said. “What’s encouraging to note is that May is usually considered the lean season, but even then such growth is taking place. This has been one of our dreams to make India an all-season destination and the progress towards this is notable.”

Despite the encouraging growth, Verma added that much needs to be done to make the tourism industry a viable one. As more travellers walk the experiential route, she urges products to be ‘experiential’ in nature, with more focus on the experience of the destination rather than plain vanilla sightseeing. She stated, “Experiential travel is one of the trends we have noticed and there is a need to work on this aspect. India is abundant with tourism products and niche products like ecotourism and adventure tourism, and even textile tourism needs to be packaged well.” The last meeting on cruise tourism among the task force discussed promotional strategies, along with infrastructural upgrade of a number of major ports like Kochi, commented Verma.

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