The new tourism policy formulated by the government is seen as a robust and investor-friendly approach that will accelerate growth in the hospitality sector.
“This is by far the best tourism policy in the country, which will put the State ahead of others, making it the first choice of the investors,” says K. Lakshminarayana, Chairman of the State Tourism Committee, AP Chambers of Commerce and Industry Federation.
Referring to the reduction in the lease amount from 2% to 1% of the ‘SRO value of the land’, he calls it a landmark incentive, especially in view of the sky-rocketing land values in the cities and towns of the State.
The decision to increase it by 5% every three years, unlike annually in the past, is the “icing on the cake,” he says.
Reimbursement of 100% of net SGST accrued to the State for all new tourism projects for a period of five years is a bold incentive, says Mr. Lakshminarayana, adding that refund of ₹2 on power tariff for all new tourism projects is a “milestone move.”
“Straight forward incentives to all new tourism units for five years without any confusion about their categories is a ‘no-nonsense direct incentive’ that is bound to serve as the pull factor for investors,” he emphasises.
Reimbursement of stamp duty for registration of new projects in the hospitality sector and continuation of the 100% waiver of land use conversion charges reflect the government’s intention to create a conducive climate for the investors, he says.
Listing the long coastline, rivers, backwaters, hills, forests and cultural and heritage features, especially the fact that the State is the birth place of Mahayana Buddhism, the draft document also speaks of a nearly ₹200-crore aid, which the government will provide to everyone associated with the hospitality sector — hoteliers, restaurants, tour operators, travel agents, adventure and water sports operators.
“The policy looks excellent with a lot of encouragement to the new entrepreneurs. The incentives offered to the Mega Tourism Infrastructure Development Projects, such as 90 years of lease, is encouraging,” says S. Prasanth, president of the Hotels and Restaurants’ Associations of Andhra Pradesh (HRAAP).
Referring to the offer of ‘industry status’ to a mega project worth ₹400 crore, he says a project of that size may not be viable in the State, and so the amount can be reduced to ₹150 crore.
“Also, some of the incentives doled out to the new projects can also be extended to the existing ones,” he adds.
Bala Krishna Reddy, executive director, Hotel Bliss Taj, Tirupati, agrees that the new tourism policy is way more promising than the earlier one.
“The only thing that bothers us is its proper implementation. If there is lack of coordination between the aligned departments, the purpose will be lost. It is imperative for everybody to be on the same page,” he says.
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