AP’s tourism minister, Mr Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao has asked the local tourism industry to appreciate and value the prestigious art and culture the state has to offer rather than mimic sites from abroad.
In a recent interaction organized by the AP chambers of commerce and industry with people from the tourism sector the minister underscored the importance of this regions sights and sounds and called upon them to nurture and market them. ‘Be proud about your birthplace and don’t fall for sites abroad’ said the minister.
The minister albeit agreed that there is an imminent need to aggrandize infrastructure in tourist places while also strengthen safety aspects. ‘Focus must be on safety’ said the minister.
Earlier Mr S Prashant president of the AP hotels and restaurant association gave a detailedpresentation to the minister highlighting some of the aspects that have been slowing down the industry in the state. Some of the issues he highlighted included the consistent rise of renewal license fees for the hospitality industry. Similarly he said that fire license charges are exorbitant. ‘Previously we were charged a flat fee (for the fire license) on a per unit basis now they charge us per sft. basis. This has made our fire license fees go up substantially’ said the president of hotels and restaurants association.
GST on Food
On the GST front he called for a single unified slab on food related charges. ‘Food is being taxed under 2 different categories. If you eat in the restaurant it is one rate (5%) and if you eat in a banquet/hall it is another rate (18%)’ said Mr Prashant. He requested the minister to take this up with the concerned authorities and make it a flat rate of 5%.
Identifying ‘necessary’ tourism infrastructure as the need of the hour Mr Prashant laid emphasis on getting some of the basic amenities like toilets, roads in and around tourist places strengthened. ‘Totalakonda doesn’t have a single toilet’ said Mr Prashant.
Representatives from other tourism related sectors also made presentations and asked for the minister’s support. The minister assured them of all necessary support and intended his willingness to work with them.