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  • Hospitality Sector Pin Hopes On ‘Goan’ Tourism Minister

    Published on May 30, 2014

    Goa: Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) has welcomed the appointment of Mr. Shripad Naik as the new Union Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge) and the fifteenth Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi.

    HRAWI logo 1The change in Government and the appointment of Minister from the tourism centric state of Goa have raised hopes of the beleaguered hospitality sector, especially of Western India. “The new government has been highlighting the importance of tourism and hospitality as a key driver of the nation’s economical growth. We expect it to push major pro-hospitality initiatives in the months to come. To begin with, the Government can consider revision in the current tax structure, diesel subsidies for power generation and incentives for investing in waste management and re-cycling of waste,” says Mr. Charles Bonifacio, Chairman, Goa sub-committee, HRAWI.

    In its poll manifesto, BJP had identified tourism as a major foreign exchange earner that also has potential to create millions of jobs every year. The hospitality industry accounts for approximately 8.8% of total employment and is a significant contributor to the country’s GDP.

    “Tourism is the back bone of Goa’s economy, employing one third of its population and contributing 50% of the total collected revenues. But it is now facing challenges from tourism promoted by Sri Lanka, Thailand, Singapore and other new destinations. Many nations offer incentives in the form of lower taxation and lower interest rates to boost tourism. We, in India, too would need such assistance to remain competitive and lowering the cost of the product to the end consumer,” adds Mr. Bonifacio. “Currently entry visa for India from the UK is one of the most expensive in the world and is restricting tourism revenue from UK which is our bane. The government should rectify this at the earliest.”

    “Some of the other problems include restrictions on flying in and out of Goa. If you fly to Goa on a charter flight then you can’t fly home on a direct schedule service, it has to go via Delhi or Mumbai. Also, if you fly to Goa on a charter flight then you can’t fly home on another carrier’s charter flight. This policy is arbitrary and is a hassle for tourists who come here to unwind and relax,” says Mr. Bonifacio.

    In its manifesto the Governing party had proposed to initiate a mission to create 50 tourist circuits that are affordable and built around themes of archaeological and heritage; cultural and spiritual; Himalayan; desert; coastal; and, medical (Ayurveda and modern medicine) among others. These are expected to lead to the creation of infrastructure and employment around each tourist circuit and help boost revenue generation. The manifesto further sought to introduce specialized courses in tourism for capacity development, besides according due priority to the safety and security of tourists.

    “Hospitality and tourism go hand in hand.  Growth of tourism is integral to the growth of hospitality. The new tourism minister is familiar with tourism and is fully aware of its potential. We from the hotel industry have our hopes pinned on this Government to lead us to newer heights,” concludes Mr. Bonifacio.

    Source: Lokesh Shastri

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