INDIA’s state of Maharashtra – where Mumbai is based – is on a drive to ramp up tourism as it offers a tax break in projects, develops a Sea World theme park and plans a port upgrade.
Speaking at the recently concluded convention of the Indian Association of Tour Operators in Mumbai, tourism minister, Chhagan Bhujbal, said: “We will provide a 10-year tax (break) for tourism projects in Sindhudurg district to boost tourism and levy industrial rates for the use of water in tourism projects. We will also provide 50 per cent concession on registration fee for tourism buses and stamp duty on tourism projects."
It will also be easier for restaurants to operate, as the number of licences required will be reduced, the validity of licences extended from one to five years and the submission of applications streamlined to a single-window clearance.
Meanwhile, plans to develop the Rs5.1 billion (US$91.9 million) Sea World project in Sindhudurg have gotten primary approval. The state and union government will fund Rs1 billion each, while private participation will be to the tune of Rs3.1 billion.
To attract international cruise ships and overseas cruise tourists, the Maharashtra government has sent a proposal to the country’s authorities to expand the present passenger terminal at Mumbai's port to develop facilities to international standards.
In addition, the state government is looking to reduce the sales tax on aviation turbine fuel, which stands at 25 per cent at present, Bhujbal added.