The tourism sector in Uttar Pradesh is all set to get an industry status.
Official sources said that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has given his consent to the proposal.
"A decision in principle to award industry status to tourism and hospitality sector has been taken and now an experts' committee is weighing its pros and cons so that the best investor-friendly draft is put up for the state cabinet's approval," a government spokesman said.
The proposed changes will be made in the new tourism policy which is being drafted.
Rajasthan has recently accorded industry status to its hospitality sector. Uttarakhand, Goa, Kerala have also taken the step. Industry players are of the view that the tourism sector can give a big push to Uttar Pradesh's economy.
Uttar Pradesh is a leading state in terms of tourism, with 109.71 million domestic tourists and 33,737 foreign tourists in 2021; and the kind of work that has been done in the state over the past few years, the "growth is bound to be remarkable".
Citing an example of Varanasi, the spokesman said that over one crore pilgrims visited Kashi in the month of 'Shravan' which is 'a breath-taking piece of data'.
Once the Ram temple in Ayodhya is built, the footfall is expected to go up manifold.
Experts are of the view that industry status will make investment in the sector easier besides making it more sustainable.
"Power charges and taxes will come down significantly once tourism becomes an industry in Uttar Pradesh. This will also make land allotment easier for new projects in places like Varanasi which is very short of land for expansion," said an official.
They also opined that the industry status to the tourism and hospitality sector will help in reviving the area which has suffered immensely during the pandemic years.
"Industry status will lower the input cost for revival of hotels and resorts which will prevent loss making entities from closure. Alongside, it will encourage subsisting projects to re-start," said a member of the Uttar Pradesh hotels and restaurants association.
The move will also facilitate development of heritage hotels and homestays, many of which do not move forward because banks put too many checks before awarding loans.
But more than that, in the longer run, it will fuel local economies and also work towards conservation of local art, craft, tradition and cuisine.