Differential taxation hurting tourism : Soni

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New Delhi, Sep 26 (UNI) Favouring rationalisation of state taxes on tourist vehicles, Tourism Minister Ambika Soni today said her ministry is also in favour of allocation of separate registration series carrying alphabets "TV" on all tourist vehicles.

"We have recommended levying a quarterly or annual tax so that tourist vehicles can move seamlessly under a Single Window Permit System. We all need to work together on these matters with the State Governments," she said while speaking at the Convention of the Indian Tourist Transporters Association (ITTA).

She said differential taxation was hurting tourism as they added to costs and made tourism expensive.

"The States must take a long-term view of earning greater revenue by generating volumes rather than be short-sighted, " she said.

Referring to the forthcoming 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games, Ms Soni said this was another big opportunity for the transport industry.

"Learn from the experiences of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games and the Beijing Olympics where the services they provided to visitors during those days were widely said to be of top quality and seamless. Likewise we should set high benchmarks for the Games because these events provide lasting impressions on people," the minister said.

Stating that safety and security of tourists is very important for the industry. she asked the tourist transporters "please take care of your tourists as if they are your guests in the true spirit of Atithi Devo Bhava'.

"Incidents of harassment have undermined the tourism industry in the recent past. It is our collective responsibility to ensure the safety and security of tourists. A good agency will invest on the security of his client as much as in the maintenance of the vehicles he uses," she said.

UNI SH RL HT1932

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