Country losing tourists due to heavy cross-State taxation: Mahalingaiah

'Tariff of hotel rooms double in India'

“We lose out on many tourists due to heavy taxing in cross-state tourism,” said president of Indian Association of Tour Operators, Karnataka chapter, S Mahalingaiah.

Besides exorbitant entry tax at the borders of two neighbouring states, he criticised absurd pricing of hotel rooms as unfortunate for the tourism industry. “Tariff of hotel rooms in India are double compared to similar rooms in Singapore. This discourages tourists,” he said, during the 18th annual national convention of Tourist Guides’ Federation of India (TGFI), here, on Saturday.

He opined that the drivers need to be tourist-friendly, as tourists spend most of their time with them.

Regional director, India Tourism, South region, Soheb Samad said, tourist guides project India to the world, so, quality guides will be vital for marketing Indian tourist destinations. This is important because tourism industry is a major employer in India, employing about four times more people than the automotive industry.

President of TGFI Narendra Singh Tomar said, Karnataka lacks tourism culture and those in the industry should work hard to promote tourism in the state. “About 80 people are trained by India Tourism to be professional guides, but only 6-7 trained professional are working today in Karnataka,” he stated.

Highlighting the problems faced by guides, he said, it is a seasonal profession with uncertainity and no support from the government, in view of basic facilities like pension and insurance. He urged the government to provide these benefits, along with reserved rooms in government hotels at concessional prices.

Superintendent of the Archeological Survey of India, Bengaluru circle, Arun Raj said, refresher courses should be conducted for tourist guides to update their knowledge about the recent developments in historical findings.

The convention was held for the first time in Karnataka and was attended by around 200 members from across India.

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