The state government has decided to grant industry status to the hospitality industry, Tourism Minister CP Yogeeshwara said on Saturday. Thus, hotels in the tourism sector will benefit from subsidies and taxes applicable to industries.
Previously, hotels were seen as commercial establishments and not as industrial units. Yogeeshwara said the Cabinet-approved move would boost the tourism sector affected by Covid.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the tourism sector. Establishments that depended on tourism have been hit hard. It is necessary to rejuvenate them, ”he said.
The hotels were set up on commercial rates. Now that they will be considered an industry, taxes and other charges will be reduced, ”he said, adding that 62 star-rated hotels would fall under it to begin with.
“Small-scale hotels will not fall under this. We plan to offer a separate program for them. According to Additional Chief Secretary (Tourism) TK Anil Kumar, only 62 hotels in Karnataka are rated by stars by the tourism ministry.
“The subsidies and other benefits for these hotels will be applicable for a period of 5 years from April 2021,” he said. Yogeeshwara said that Karnataka has around 1,000 2-star hotels. “The classification of hotels from 1 star to 5 stars is carried out by a committee of the central government,” he said.
“Mayura state hotels have requested a star rating. Classifying the hospitality industry as an industry was a long-standing demand that intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is a step in the direction of the development of the tourism sector, as Karnataka still lags behind states such as Kerala and Gujarat,” Yogeeshwara said. Asked about the development of Nandi Hills near Bengaluru, the minister said that it was only recently that the horticulture department handed over the management of this popular place to the tourism department.
“We plan to have cable cars and other amenities. There are also opportunities for private investment, ”he said. Besides Nandi Hills, Yogeeshwara said other popular tourist destinations such as Jog Falls, Kodachadri and Kemmanugundi will be developed.
“Plans are being made to develop Badami and Pattadakal as heritage tourist sites. In addition, steps are being taken to develop the Roerich and Devikarani estate as a cultural center, ”he said.