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Vivek Nair

Vice Chairman and MD, Leela Aventure

The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) have requested a budget allocation of Rs 25,000 crore in the next Plan and also has sought support from the government in the 12th Five-Year Plan for development of the tourism sector aiming to increase the foreign crowd.

India has received close to six million foreign tourists in 2011 and initiatives are underway to expand and promote tourism in the country, with an aim to double the foreign crowd in the next five years, said FHRAI honorary secretary Vivek Nair. Nearly 30 million tourists have visited Turkey, 24 million to Malaysia, 12 million to Thailand and 12 million to Singapore, he said.

India has some 22,000 star hotels and 1.2 lakh guest rooms in the classified category. "We may need additional 1.8 lakh guest rooms in the classified category and to create the facility, the industry requires Rs 72,000 crore. It's a daunting task and we have requested the government for support. They require Rs 40 lakh for each room," he explained.

The tourism sector provides employment to over 50 million people in India and it is the single largest employment generator. It is expected to create additional jobs if the proposed infrastructure like accommodation units, air, road connectivity, airport infrastructure, training manpower, convention and exhibition centres etc are set up. Meanwhile, they have requested to rationalize visa-on-arrival system too. They have asked the government to extend the facility to 13 more countries, which will take the total number of countries getting this facility to 26.

Moreover, hotels which are now being considered commercial entities must be included in the infrastructure lending list of the RBI, so that it can get financial assistance for a longer period

Budget allocation

Vivek said the federation has sought the government to allocate Rs 25,000 crore to the sector in the next Plan. They want more hotel management institutions to be set up from the funds for trained manpower. As of now, every year the industry is getting only 25,000 trained students.

Earlier, Mysore Hotel Owners' Association president M Rajendra said that they have requested the South Indian Hotels and Restaurants Association (SIHRA) to intervene and facilitate the tourism sector in Mysore. He said they want the government to reduce the enormous inter-state taxes, and create and improve tourist spots.

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