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Hoteliers pin hopes on more tourists

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Our Bureau

Mumbai, March 1

THE hotel industry has welcomed the Budget for its overall thrust on the improvement of infrastructure, which it hopes will translate into enhanced travel within the country and from outside.

Mr Raymond Bickson, Managing Director, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd, said, "The Government is embarking on the path of improving the overall infrastructure, which has so far proved to be a bottleneck to the development of the country. We welcome the announcement of the special purpose vehicle for infrastructure development and hope it benefits hotels and airports. We will wait to see further details on this and the implementation terms.

"Overall, the Budget is a step in the right direction. The Finance Minister is taking measures to ensure that the growth momentum is maintained by continuing the thrust on reforms both at the corporate and at the rural level. We hope that these structural changes translate into benefits at the grassroots level, which would, in turn, lead to a multiplier effect on the entire economy.

Mr Soumitra Saha, Director, Finance, Grand Hyatt, Mumbai, said, "The Budget has stressed on the globalisation of India. The proposals for infrastructure development; upliftment of cities and urban renewal, especially the idea of Mumbai emerging as a financial hub; special relief to the textile industry, developing the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, as a centre of excellence comparable with Oxford, Cambridge, or Stanford University; the lowering of customs duty; banking reforms; introduction of value-added tax (VAT) and deficit control point to an attempt to align India with the developed countries. "At the same time, the Budget addressed the needs of the rural sector and the agrarian economy."

He adds that the hotel industry would have to remain satisfied with the proposal to introduce VAT and the effects of infrastructure development, which could spur business travel within India and from outside.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 2, 2005)
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