September 27, 2015 8:27:32 pm
Eyeing the top 5 tourist destination state tag by year 2025, the Gujarat government unveiled an ambitious new tourism policy 2015-2020 on Sunday and awarded ‘industry status’ to the tourism sector for the first time.
On the occasion of World Tourism Day, state tourism minister Saurabh Patel on Sunday announced 100% reimbursement on stamp duty, and exemption for luxury tax, entertainment tax and electricity duty, including several capital subsidies for new infrastructure and expansion of built up tourism units in the policy. An investment of over Rs 50 crores for tourism units will get a subsidy of 15% with a upper limit of Rs 10 crores was announced.
“There is a thrust on the new policy to boost built-up infrastructure and we are expecting around 5000 – 7000 new hotel rooms to come up across state. The electricity duty which is currently around 25% will come down to around 10 to 15% and the state government has shown an intention to make provisions in the Electricity Duty Act in the next cabinet session to incorporate this policy. An additional 5% capital subsidy, also for tourism units which are looking for expansion will be given, however the expansion has to be more than 50% of their existing infrastructure for them to be eligible. Also for tourist units that have women, SC and ST ownership; 5% extra capital subsidy over and above the ‘admissible subsidy will be given. An additional capital subsidy of 5% will be provided to new tourism units coming up within the corporation limits of Gandhinagar, at Yatra Dhams such as Ambaji, Dwarka, Dakor, Junagadh, Somnath, Palitana and eco-tourism Centres of Gujarat including Nalsarovar, Polo, Dangs, Jambughoda to boost tourist accommodation. This has been done as Gandhinagar is seeing an increased tourist flow due to many foreign delegations, business groups visiting to engage with the state government in recent years,”said N Srivastava, IFS, MD of Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd.
As per the Economic Impact, 2015 data of the World Travel & Tourism Council, the total estimated investment that will flow into the state by 2025 will be $4 billion USD(Rs 26,000 crores), with an employment generation of 3 million people and 5% contribution to GDP.
In terms of domestic tourists, Gujarat is currently at 8th position with 3 crores tourist visiting the state every year, and in terms of international tourists it is ranked 16th in India with 2.25 lakh international tourists, averred state tourism secretary SJ Haider at a function here on Sunday.
“It is for the first time that tourism has been given an industry status by the government. Hotels, motels, resorts, amusement parks, heritage hotel, apartment hotel, motels, convention centers, adventure spots, wayside amenities, tented accommodation, water parks, theme parks, night accommodations that come under ‘tourism unit’ tag will have to pay industrial tax rates which is almost 10 to 15% less than commercial tax which is 25%. We have also given luxury tax exemptions and entertainment tax exemptions and 100% stamp duty exemption on buying of land by interested parties,” added N Srivastava.
The policy mentions that popular marketing campaign “Khushboo Gujarat Ki” has also contributed to the tourist flow in to the state, which was 32.7 million during the year 2014-15, which was 13.56% higher than that of the previous year.
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