The 50th Annual Convention of Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) kickstarted in the ‘Temple City’ of Bhubaneswar on September 25, 2015 at Mayfair Convention & Lagoon. The Golden Jubilee Convention was formally inaugurated by Naveen Patnaik, hon. chief minister of Odisha. Speaking on the occasion, Patnaik complemented the FHRAI for bringing the 50th Annual Convention to the ‘Temple city’ of Bhubaneswar in Odisha, which has vast tourism potential. He said, “I hope it would boost tourism and hotel industry in the state”. Stating that Odisha offered tremendous scope for development in the tourism sector, the chief minister promised to provide all facilities to promote and market Odisha as a preferred destination for tourists.
Dr. Mahesh Sharma, union minister of state of culture and tourism and minister of state of civil aviation said, “Tourism cannot be the job of the Government alone and needs the hand-holding of all the stakeholders of the tourism and the hospitality industry.”
Speaking on the sidelines of the Convention, Dr. Sharma said, “On this Golden Jubilee celebration of FHRAI, we understand the potential of the tourism industry of this great country and Odisha also. Our Hon. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi is the biggest ambassador of the tourism industry and we understand the importance of this industry and trying to address all the issues like cleanliness, safety and security, and hospitality. We are also trying to provide better connectivity between the North-east and Himalayan states, as part of our tourism development strategy.”
Dr. Sharma informed that he has put forth the demands of the tourism and hospitality industry in a note to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) seeking to lower the infrastructure lending slab for the industry to INR 25 crore. Presently, hotel projects above INR 200 crore qualify for infrastructure status and lowering the slab to INR 50 crore in case of Convention Centers from INR 300 crore. The CCEA is likely to take a decision on this regard shortly.
Dr. Sharma added, “National Civil Aviation Policy’ is now in the public domain and will be launched in the next few weeks. All the issues concerning civil aviation have been addressed in the new Policy”. The tourism minister said that Medical Tourism and Wellness Tourism would be the two prime focus areas in the coming years. Employment generation, Hunar Se Rozgar and Women Empowerment are other major areas the Ministry would focus upon.
He informed that on the ‘World Tourism Day’ to be celebrated on September 27, the foundation stone for a new ‘Tourism Ministry’ building will be laid down in New Delhi. The proposed new building is to be named after Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay and will house all the division of the Ministry under one roof.