EH STAFF – Goa
The inaugural session of 47th Annual Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) saw union minister of Tourism, Subodh Kant Sahai promise his help that the industry in acquiring the ‘infrastructure’ status. He said, “I have met the union finance minister, P Chidambaram recently and have raised the issue of granting infrastructure status to the hotel and restaurant industry. I have also been discussing this with the Infrastructure Committee and promise that the anomalies present in the current status of infrastructure to the industry will be removed.”
The chief guest at the inaugural session, Bharat Vir Wanchoo, governor of Goa added, “Employment generation is a most critical part of our country’s priorities. The growth of tourism will help generating more employment. There are seven states, including Goa, where tourism is growing rapidly.”
The hotel industry has been demanding infrastructure status considering that the industry is highly capital intensive, with large sunk costs and long gestation periods. The steady increase in borrowing costs, over the past few years, is not only undermining the financial viability of individual projects across the country, but is clouding the investment horizon for the entire sector. The tourism industry, one of the largest employment generators in the country, earns valuable foreign exchange for the economy and is a significant contributor to the national GDP.
Also present at the inaugural session were, Anil Kumar, minister of Tourism, Kerala; P Rajavelu, minister of Tourism – Puducherry; Samuel Matthews, secretary, ministry of Tourism – Goa; Ghassan Aidi, president of International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IHRA); Kamlesh Barot, president – FHRAI, Shyama Raju, vice president – FHRAI and Vivek Nair, vice chairman and MD, Leela Group of Hotels and the chairman of Convention Organising Committee.