Delhi as a City has Grown Phenomenally as a Tourist Hub: Vinay Saxena

Vinay Saxena, Delhi’s LG has been at the forefront of spreading the good cheer around tourism, leading the centre’s efforts in Making the national capital a Global hub

Delhi is the capital of India. It is also home to a glorious heritage. It is supported by excellent connectivity. As such, it can be one of the major hubs of growth for hospitality sector. The hospitality sector in Delhi has grown remarkably in recent times.

However, Delhi is yet to realize its full potential. When compared to other global destinations, Delhi lags in some aspects of the hospitality sector, its associated parameters like night dining, open air eateries, and a vibrant night economy are still largely missing. These have been various legacy issues like licensing and regulation. Because of these, enabling support systems have remained very restrictive and discouraging in Delhi. However, it has been my endeavor to address the issues with an open mind and sort them out. I’m happy to share that we have taken many decisions to encourage and promote ease of doing business in the national Capital. During the last one and a half year, we gave permissions to 667 establishments to operate on 24/7 basis. These permissions had been pending since 2016 with the local government.

With my intervention, the MCD has now started granting licenses for open space dining to existing eateries. This has generated a robust response from about 300 establishments, which have already started doing so. As a major reform in the old licensing regime was introduced with a modified unified portal for licensing of eating and boarding and lodging service in Delhi. The licenses that were earlier taking three years to be issued can now be obtained in just 49 days. with a modified portal in place, an applicant can now seek a fresh license or renew the older one by getting simultaneous permission from all regulatory bodies such as Delhi Police, Delhi Fire Service, Delhi Pollution control Board, and MCD and NDMC on a single window without any human interface. The most notable feature of this portal is the provision of deemed approval of license. This means if the permission or the license is not granted in the prescribed 49 days by the respective agency or the department, the applicant is deemed to have obtained it automatically. This is first of its kind initiative in the country, which aims at rationalizing and simplifies the licensing procedures. The documents required for grant of such clearances has been reduced to 28 from a staggering 103 earlier.

Online faceless police clearances certificate has replaced physical police verification, licenses are now being granted for three years by MCD, Delhi Police and Delhi Fire Service; earlier these were issued only for one year. Now the restaurants and bar in five-star hotels are allowed to operate 24/7 basis, while three-star hotels can operate up to 2:00am. This is a big step, in order to cater to the international tourist arriving in Delhi checking into their hotels mostly during the night hours. All other similar establishments are allowed to operate till 1:00am, which used to be only 11:00pm early.

Efforts were undertaken during the last one and a half years to develop new destinations for residents of Delhi and tourists. Attempts at preserving and restoring heritage to make them more attractive have been undertaken by the DDA. Massive efforts have been made to change the city’s road scape by way of aesthetic upgradation. More than 150 fountains and over a hundred sculptures are now finding place of pride along the roads. All these are aimed at making Delhi more tourist friendly. I’m sure that these will go a long way in aiding the hospitality sector. The change is visible right from the time that one enters the city from the IGI airport; the stars of New Delhi to the Raj Ghat and the ISBT now have a new look. The roads of all of you must have seen at a dawn with life size statues and artefacts, fountains and vertical gardens, even the streets where we sit today. Sadar Patel Marg has undergone a transformation that is visible delight.

Cleanliness of the city has been accorded a high priority, and I’m sure all of you would have seen a noticeable improvement in the surroundings of your hotels. We are determined to change the aesthetic of Delhi. Lush green open public spaces with musical fountains, water bodies, and cafeteria have come up at newly developed theme parks on the west and east banks of Yamuna. These land spaces have been reclaimed from encroachment and waste. These newly made assets are attracting thousands of visitors daily. The DDA Mehrauli archaeological park replete with restored medieval, heritage structure and amphitheater, a water body and a cafe has emerged as visitors delight. The same is visible on various social media platforms like Instagram.

The Bharat Mandapam and the Yashobhoomi is Dwarika have come up as world class invention centres. These venues have the capacity to organize national, international conferences and exhibitions and hence have a potential to attract huge footfall in Delhi from abroad.

The historic St. James Church in Old Delhi and Hardayal Library have been recently restored to their deserving glory.

Even as a state enables you and your businesses, there lies upon you a corresponding responsibility towards society. I would request you to proactively come forward and partner with the government in all our efforts of enabling you. You can do this by playing your own role responsibly with regards to garbage disposal, disbursement of unused food to the needy, environment protection, value of water conservation, single use plastic, use of green energy number, all better services to your consumers in terms of quality as well as cost should be your guiding principles.

I would also invite the Hotel Association to come forward and partner with us to establish hospitality skilling centres for which we can provide infrastructure. I would also urge all hotels to adopt one road each and take responsibility for its greenery and beautification. Indian hotels have established strong tradition of world class hospitality, which draws upon Indian traditions of ‘Atiti Devo Bhava’. I wish you all the best and hope that you will always put your best foot forward with maximum innovation in unity and efforts for the success of Indian hospitality, travel and tourism. Your efforts in strengthening the hospitality sector will play a key role in employment generation and nation building.

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