Tuesday, December 07, 2010

State plans incentives to attract new hotel projects

State plans incentives to attract new hotel projects
Times of India By Nayan Dave & Himanshu Kaushik

Realising the need to upgrade infrastructure at tourist hotspots following an aggressive ad campaign by Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan, the state government plans to offer a slew of incentives to hotel projects.

These include relief in electricity duty and 6% interest subsidy on loans up to Rs 50 lakh for new hotel projects.

Talking at a seminar on investment opportunities in Gujarat in the run up to Vibrant Gujarat 2011 summit, the state tourism minister Jay Narayan Vyas emphsised the need for proper infrastructure and said that his government had identified the issue and would shortly announced the policy decision.

Terming the current tourism infrastructure inadequate, managing director of Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL) believes the state would require a lot more hotels in all categories to cope up with the pressure. According to figures available, flow of tourists has increased manifold post Amitabh Bachchan campaign.

Already, hoteliers are making a beeline for tourist spots. Around five luxury hotel projects are on the anvil near the Gir forest. National brands like Tata and Mahindra, apart from some Gujarat-based players are developing at least five new star category hotels in and around Sasan. Tata Group is re-opening 29-room 'Gir Lodge', which will be promoted under its 'Gateway' brand. Tatas took the property on lease from TCGL way back in 1995. However, the hotel with picturesque view of Hiran river and the Vasadoor hills in Sasan is closed since a decade. Club Mahindra has come into a lease agreement with the promoters of Wonderland Resort that was commissioned last year.

Rajkot-based Sanjayraj Group, which has interests in real estate, hospitality and education, is also developing a 5-star resort on 30 acres of land. "We are developing the resort at an estimated cost of Rs 30 crore (excluding land). The 100-room property is aimed at attracting high-end domestic as well as foreign tourists," said Indranil Rajguru, chairman of the company.

Another Rajkot-based realty firm, Kotecha Group is in the process to commissioning a 4-star hotel. Ahmedabadbased realty firm Popular Group is diversifying into hospitality to develop 5-star ecofriendly resort near Sasan on 30 acres of land.

Even Gujarat government is in the process of creating 'Little Africa', an eco-friendly resort in a bid to provide employment to youth of the African-origin Sidi community settled in Saurashtra region. The theme-based resort to be developed on 25 acres of land would be promoted by global giant IBM.

4 lakh tourists visited state in Feb: The state recorded over 30 per cent rise in foreign tourists in February 2010 compared to the corresponding period last year. In February 2009 about three lakh foreign and NRI tourists had visited the state. The number shot up to over four lakh in February this year.

Tourist inflow has gone up following Big B's ad campaign but infrastructure needs to be upgraded

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