The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) along with its regional association the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) have appreciated the government’s plan to introduce a five-year electronic tourist visa against a fee of US$80 along with easing several e-Visa regulations and reduction of other charges. The tourism ministry has also hinted at introducing a one-month e-visa for foreign tourists at a fee of USD$25. FHRAI has stated that the move to reduce regulatory hassles as well as the fees will definitely encourage foreign tourists to travel to India which has been experiencing a slowdown in foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs).
“After more than a decade of negligence of this sector and a resultant slump, the slowdown in FTAs is certainly not helping the industry’s growth prospects. So the government’s plan to reduce e-visa fees is much welcome which will encourage tourists to travel to our country,” said Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, VP, FHRAI and president, HRAWI.
Meanwhile, citing massive potential of domestic travel to both hospitality and tourism in the country, the federation has recommended the government to offer a deduction of Rs 50,000/- for the resident Indian on their domestic travels.
“While it is important to draw foreign tourists to India, it will do much good for tourism if the domestic tourist too is encouraged to travel. By incentivising the resident Indian whose disposable income is on the rise, the government can give a big boost to tourism within the country. High tax structures in India are presently pushing domestic travellers to foreign locales due to affordability and an exotic experience. In his Independence Day address to the nation, PM Narendra Modi has asked Indians to visit at least 15 tourist destinations across India before 2022. Offering the right kind of incentive to the domestic traveller has the potential to actualise his vision. As the apex body of hotels and restaurants in India, FHRAI would like to work in tandem with the govt. and offer any assistance required from us to boost tourism within the country and make our Hon. PM’s dream a reality,” concluded Kohli.