Tourism Minister to take up high GST rates issue for hotel industry

New Delhi, Oct 23 : Minister of State for Tourism KJ Alphons said on Monday that he will take up the issue of heavy Goods and Services Tax (GST) applied on 5 star hotels rooms with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as it is hitting the entire travel industry. Addressing media persons after day long deliberations at ECO’s Forum on Paryatan Parva, Mr Alphons said that apart from this, he will also take up the issue of high land prices for the hotels and single window clearance system for the tourism industry. Mr Minister announced that Government has chosen 7 private parties to hand over creation and maintenance of several services at selected 7 heritage sites. Altogether government has 97 such sites and it has got expression of interest from more than 50 private companies. Mr Alphons said the Government will also consider the demand for granting infrastructure industry status for the travel industry. Time and again, industry has demanded for the said status. Government do give infrastructure industry status to the projects involving investment of more than 200 crores. The Minister said that Government has a target of getting 40 million foreign tourist and 100 billion dollar earning through tourism in the next 5 years which will create more than 100 million jobs. As on date, the India attracts 14 million foreign tourists and earn approximately 25 billion dollar per year which creates 43 million jobs. Mr Alphons said that most of the CEO’s during the discussion were of the opinion that land prices for construction of hotels is very high and government must allot the land on annual lease basis which will make the industry viable. This will again allow the government to earn on annual basis for longer period. He said, “The industry also raised the issue of high interest rates for construction of hotels and other facilities.” According to him, there is a shortage of over 2 lakh hotel rooms in the country which requires huge investment in the sector. The need for hotel rooms costing less than Rs 2000 per night is more.