ETW Staff– Mumbai
Tourism is at the top of the agenda of the Modi government and the ministry of tourism within the first 100 days of the inception of the Narendra Modi Government has introduced a range of measures to support the tourism sector and enhance competitiveness and marketing drive overseas. This was stated by the union minister for tourism, Shripad Naik addressing the Annual Convention of the Indian Heritage Hotel Association (IHHA) at Diggi Palace. He said that for the first time a Union Government has recognised tourism as a key sector which can contribute to India’s foreign exchange earnings. And this is the main reason, tourism features so prominently in the government’s action plan as spelt out in the Union Budget.
Naik said, “The radical change in the Modi’s government is reflected in the approach to provide tourist visa on arrival enabled with electronic travel authorisation which will soon become a reality.” He said the tourist arrivals in the country has shown a growth and the government is committed to the principle of ‘minimum government, maximum governance’ and has decided to simplify the hotel classification and reclassification procedure for hotels.
Naik announced that the ministry of tourism is setting up an Indian Culinary Institute at Tirupati as a non-profit central autonomous authority. This proposed institute will serve the cause of preserving the heritage of Indian cuisine, research, documentation, museum and resource centre and a specialised training in culinary skills. The minister said that the National Institute of Catering Technology has entered into a consulting agreement with the Switzerland based Lausanne Hospitality Consultancy (HPC) and the HPC will help the council in revising the curriculum and train the faculty members for improved delivery of contents.
Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur, the president, IHHA said, “I am happy that an initiative taken by some of the owners of the heritage properties in the state by converting them into heritage hotels has become a movement now and a number of states particularly Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are trying to develop heritage tourism.. Heritage hotels are the pillars of Indian tourism and the prime minister Narendra Modi has truly recognised the potential of growth by calling it as engine of growth. Taxation, particularly the luxury tax needs review the growth of heritage hotels.”
The state minister for energy, Gajendra Singh Khimsar who represented the chief minister said that he was happy to be part of the heritage hotels conference being a part of the community as the owner of the Castle Khimsar, one of the oldest heritage property in the state. He said the government has initiated a number of measures to benefit the hotel owners by reducing the bar licences fees.
Minister Naik launched the e-newsletter which would be related to heritage and would be emailed to travel agencies, hotels, travel writers and would be a quarterly. The minister also released a books the ‘Small & Beautiful Hill Stations of Indian Heritage’ and “Lesser Known Heritage of India”.
Earlier, Shailendra Kumar Agarwal, principal secretary of tourism, Government of Rajasthan; Raghwendra Kumar Singh, managing director of tourism, Government of Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation; Satish Soni, joint management director, Government of Maharashtra; Steve Borgia, CMD INDeco Leisure Hotels, and Suresh Talera, vice president, IHHA, also spoke on the occasion. The session was moderated by Rakesh Mathur, Randhir Vikram Singh Mandawa, general secretary of IHHA proposed the vote of thanks.