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Odisha ready to host Lord Jagannath's Rath Yatra: Odisha Tourism Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi

Jul 01, 2019


  • Union tourism ministry working to reduce GST for hospitality
  • Efforts on to bring back hospitality into harmonised list of infrastructure


NEW DELHI, 1 July 2019: Mr Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Odisha Minister of Tourism and Odia Language, Literature and Culture, today said that the state is ready to host one of India's biggest festivals, Lord Jagannath's Rath Yatra, on Thursday despite Cyclone Fani ravaging the state recently.


Speaking on the inaugural day of two-day '5th Tourism Investors Meet 2019' organizedby FICCIMr Panigrahi said that the state government led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has set an example for the world by evacuating more than a million people to safety with zero casualty.


"In about a month's time, the Odisha government helped bring back things to normal and we are back in business. On July 4, we would be holding Lord Jagannath's Rath Yatra and we extend our invitation to all tourists to discover the state which is the best kept secret of Incredible India," he said.


Mr Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India said that the demand for Incredible India has been soaring with increasing number of tourists, both international as well as domestic, and the government along with private players need to work on expanding the infrastructure to cater it.


"There is a high level of taxation for hotels which have a tariff of Rs 7,500 and above and we are very hopeful that that will get sorted out in the next GST Council meeting. Hopefully that will drop down to 18 per cent," Mr Billa said, adding that the tax has not been yielding any money and was only creating bad optics.


Mr Billa further added the tourism ministry is working to bring back the hospitality sector into the harmonised list of infrastructure because there is no other sector which can create as many jobs as the hospitality sector, he said.


"We are continuously pushing this with the RBI and the Department of Economic Affairs. It will lead to nearly doubling of loan tenure and the prime lending rate will go down by 200 basis points," he added.


Dr Jyotsna Suri, FICCI Past President, FICCI Tourism Committee Chairperson and CMD, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group said that the two-day event with private players in the tourism industry would come up with recommendations for necessary infrastructure to fully exploit India's potential in tourism.


FICCI Knowledge Paper - "Indian Tourism Infrastructure: Investment Opportunities & Challenges" was also released at the event. The Knowledge Paper contains recommendations for the government to boost the tourism sector.

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