Industry status sought for hotels

Hoteliers State-level meet demands cut in entry tax on tourist vehicles

Speaking after submitting a memorandum to Medical Education and District In-charge Minister S A Ramdas on behalf of the association, executive chairman of the three-day convention and president of Mysore Hotel Owners’ Association M Rajendra said the prospective visitors from neighbouring states were avoiding the State due to exorbitant entry fee here. It had an immediate bearing on the tourism and hotel industry. Such a policy had badly hit the hotels and restaurants, he said.

“The Karnataka has bigger potential than any other State to reap out of tourism and hotel industry. A higher entry fee may bring few crores of revenue to coffers. We assure that a waive off or bringing down the entry tax will increase the revenue ten times through more value added tax(VAT), sales tax and other taxes paid by tourism and hotel industry,” Rajendra said.

A burden

He observed that people from middle-class plan their trip in a bus as they won’t be able to afford to hire taxi or a flight. Three years ago, a bus carrying tourists paid less than ` 3,000. Now, entry tax exceeds  ` 16,500. The government was burdening middle class, he said.

He suggested that Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka be brought under single entry tax forming a South India Tourism Zone. It helps generate revenue for all states, he added.

Rajendra demanded that the hotel sector be provided with industry status on par with infrastructure and industries and offered similar incentives, subsidies and allot land on subsidised rates. The hotel industry forms the foundation for the growth of other industries in any area.

But, the sector never received attention. It is only projected as profit making industry without considering the woes of people running hotels. “It is not as rosy as it appeared. There are many issues and woes haunting the sector and 15-20 lakh people dependent on the industry,” he remarked.

The memorandum also urged for extension of subsidy offered to taluk hotels and restaurants in taluk centres to their urban counterparts. A package tour concept introduced for regions like Mysore which hosts to numerous tourists spots would encourage and promote tourism. A convention centre is need of the hour for Mysore.

The Government should take a leverage from its neighbour Goa, which attracts biggest number of foreign tourists. A four-lane highway connecting Goa-Belgaum-Uttar Kannada would give a boost to tourism sector up North and the coastal line. 

Representation

Rajendra demanded that the hotel industry personnel should be given a representation in the local elected bodies and the legislative council and Rajyasabha to voice their woes in the corridors of power. The early completion of express railway line between Mysore and Bangalore would support the tourism and other industries, he said adding that the Government should exempt Composition Opted Tax(COT) up to Ra 5 lakh and reduce establishment expenditure tax.

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