Hotel union hails industry status to hospitality sector

Mumbai: The Hotel and Restaurant Association (Western India) on Saturday welcomed the Maharashtra government's move to grant industry status to the hospitality sector effective from April 1, 2021.

"With this status, the hospitality sector will be entitled to receive benefits under special schemes and subsidies, with minimal to none procedural roadblocks. This will also unlock the huge potential that the sector holds," HRAWI President Sherry Bhatia said in a statement.

On Thursday, the Maharashtra state cabinet approved the proposal to accord industry status to the hospitality sector aimed at reviving the industry that has been badly affected by the pandemic.

Hotels registered with the Centre's tourism ministry will be charged electricity, water, property, development and non-agriculture taxes at industrial rate from April 1, 2021, and an expert committee will be formed to finalise the same, according to a statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office on Thursday.

"We thank chief minister Uddhav Thackeray for giving the sector what it needs and the timing couldn't have been better. With its implementation, the operating cost of hotels and other tourism related sectors will drastically come down due to lower annual electricity rates and other land related rates.

"We are hopeful that apart from the first stage of benefits, the government will issue various other benefits listed in the GR, which would help to alleviate to some degree, the huge burden being felt post-COVID-19," said Vivek Nair, Member of Honor, HRAWI and Past President, FHRAI.

HRAWI had been following up with the Maharashtra government over this matter to get the industry associated benefits.

It was, however, only in a recent meeting with the tourism minister that the subject got the attention it required, HRAWI added.

The industry status unburdens the sector of utility payments and duties to the state which were at commercial tariff rates, which includes some of the high cost items like electricity, water and property, among others, HRAWI spokesperson Gurbaxish Singh Kohli said.

"At industrial rates, the operational costs will go down to a great extent. This is a big relief for our sector and has come at a time when hotel and restaurant businesses are severely hit because of the pandemic enforced lockdown and low consumer confidence," Kohli added.

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