The Tourism Industry of which Hospitality is a significant and large component is a key engine for economic growth and employment generation globally. In India, for the year 2019, the Industry contributes 9% to India’s GDP employing nearly 4.5 crore people and providing livelihoods to around 16 crore people. Tourism has been identified as one of the 5 key pillars of the Indian economy. India Tourism is fortunate to have Honourable Prime Minister as its biggest supporter and best brand ambassador – be it a call to the countrymen to travel domestically or to encourage Indians residing overseas to visit their roots along with friends and relatives.
Hotels are the providers of essential tourism infrastructure of tourist accommodation to all kinds of travellers in any budget category. The Hotel Association of India (HAI) is the apex body of Indian Hospitality and has been collaborating with the Government on Sectoral Policy matters for over two decades. It has focused on key reform imperatives required to help India become a global tourism hub.
Allowing hotels, the benefits currently available to Industry like subsidized rates of utility tariffs, lower property tax, simplified procedures for clearances of hotel projects and operations has been advocated by the Association for a very long time. HAI is encouraged and pleased therefore to see the efforts recently taken by some State Governments in announcing these benefits. The Maharashtra Government has been a forerunner in its support to the Industry more so after hotels were hit with severity by the Covid pandemic. It has also issued guidelines, initiated the process of identifying the hotels, formed an inspection committee for site visits and roped in Qualstar for developing a road-map for inspecting sites which will be followed by the committee. This will facilitate approved hotels to claim all incentives and ultimately grow the market.
The Association hopes that other Indian States and UTs will soon follow suit and support the hotels in the same manner as the sectors of Agriculture and Industry enabling a rapid growth and development of the hospitality sector across the country. Allowing hotels to avail benefits towards electricity tariffs, property tax, refinancing of existing debts, hassle-free loans at subsidized interest rates, taxations, simplified approval process for hotel projects and operations will be a forward step in furtherance of the government’s initiative of making Tourism and Hospitality a national priority. The multiplier effect of the sector is huge and surpasses that of the other sectors like manufacturing.
MP Bezbaruah, Secretary General, HAI said, “We are encouraged to see the efforts taken by the Maharashtra Government for this path-breaking initiative to help the hospitality sector with policies which will help in post pandemic revival and long-term growth. It is a capital-intensive sector and Industry Status will help accelerate the growth and development of the industry. Once implemented, it will not only strengthen the sector to unlock its true potential to make significant contributions to the state GDP and employment but also ‘usher transparency, reduce costs and encourage re-investment’ to support the post-pandemic economic revival of the region.”
Previously, states like Karnataka and Rajasthan had also accorded ‘Industry Status’ to the sector to help with the post pandemic revival.
The Indian Hospitality Industry faced one the most severe dent due to the pandemic. According ‘Industry Status’ to the sector will help the industry grow at a fast-pace, encourage investment and boost employment across the country.