The country aims to attract one percent of the global tourist arrivals by the end of 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2017) from the current 0.58 percent, Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai has said.
"We aim to increase the number of global tourist arrivals in the country to one percent, which will create a lot of employment opportunities," Sahai said, addressing the annual Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FH&RAI) conference.
Last year, 6.29 million foreign tourists came to India, which resulted in earning of USD 16.56 billion of foreign exchange. Majority of them were from Western Europe and
The Minister also said he would push for `infra' status for the tourism sector. The hospitality/tourism sector is demanding the infrastructure status, which can facilitate loans at lower rates with various tax concessions.
"Infra status will provide us the impetus to grow, which (the sector) otherwise is heavily taxed both by centre and state governments," FH&RAI President Kamlesh Barot said.
He also said the Centre should bring in new tax regime including DTC (direct tax code) and GST (Goods and Services tax) which would help remove the double taxation.
Also, the state governments should notify Hospitality Development Promotion Boards (HDPBs) to boost the tourism development, Barot added.