Valley hoteliers hail ‘tourism-friendly’ budget

SRINAGAR:  The Valley hoteliers have welcomed the budget announcement by Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather terming it as ‘tourism friendly’.
However, the hoteliers have urged government to provide industrial benefits also to the tourism sector for its promotion.
In a joint statement, Kashmir Hotels and Restaurant Association (KHARA) and Kashmir Hotels and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF) said it was heartening that no extra taxes were levied on tourism sector and for this hoteliers appreciate Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather and Commissioner Commercial Taxes Department Syed Kifayat Hussain Rizvi.
“We welcome the budget framed by the state government in which no extra taxes has been introduced,” said KHARA President Showkat Chowdhary.
Notably, the finance minister has extended tourism incentive package upto March 2015 which was expiring on 31st December, 2014 besides hotel tariff tax and service tax exemption will also continue up to March, 2015. VAT on food in hotels which was reduced to 5 per cent in the last budget has been extended by another year. The audit limit of turn over for filing of VAT Returns from has been increased from threshold of Rs 7.5 lakh increased to Rs 10 lakh.
The hoteliers said that these initiatives would help revive tourism sector in a big way.
“We have made several appeals to government for the extension of tourism packages by more years and the demand has been met. Now the tourism packages for adding more infrastructure has been extended by another fiscal year. It will help tourism sector and more such initiative are needed in the future,” said Showkat Chowdhary.
President KHAROF GM Dug also hailed the continuation of exemption of Hotel Tariff Tax upto March 2012.
“Besides, government should provide industrial benefits to our tourism sector. Hoteliers can’t bear high input costs when we have lean tourism season in Kashmir during winters. We had demanded that there has to be concession in power tariff to the hoteliers also,” said Dug.

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