Boost for tourism sector on the cards; to be granted “infrastructure” status

Boost for tourism sector on the cards; to be granted “infrastructure” status The Ministry of Tourism Secretary, Sujit Banerjee, announced on Monday that a boost to the tourism sector is on the cards, with the government having already approved 28 mega infrastructure projects - an apparent move towards granting "infrastructure" status to the sector.

Speaking at the inauguration of a three-day international tourism conference - the Great Indian Travel Bazaar 2009 - in Jaipur, Banerjee said that the grant of infrastructure status to tourism will put provide for large amounts of money at the disposal of the states for upgrading tourism infrastructure.

In addition, it will enable hotels to get cheaper loans for new projects, as well as help augment tourist arrival in India, especially after the recent decline following the Mumbai attacks in November. Banerjee said that the Ministry of Tourism was also considering the initiation of 'single window clearance' for setting up new hotel projects.

Talking to reporters after the conference, Banerjee refrained from giving a specific time frame for the grant of new status to tourism, saying: "It is election time so I cannot say the exact time frame but I can say it will be very soon." He added: "I am quite bullish about the long-term prospects for the industry, which will recover very soon from the current slowdown. I feel the recovery will happen in the next six months."

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