FICCI YES BANK report backs private sector initiatives for infra

A FICCI YES BANK report titled ‘Tourism Infrastructure Investments: Leveraging Partnerships for Exponential Growth’ has suggested a slew of measures to improve the state of investment in the sector. Here are some excerpts from the report, outlining the way forward:

  • Tourism Specific ‘Ease of Doing Business Rankings’: ‘EoDB Tourism State Rankings’ can be introduced with comprehensive parameters for assessment of State initiatives. A uniform format can be introduced for collection and publishing of tourism data across states and districts to facilitate easier decision-making by investors.
  • Private sector participation of O&M of Existing Government Infrastructure: There is a large inventory of tourism infrastructure owned by state tourism departments as well as interconnected sectors like forest bungalows. Many of these are exquisite locations that are lying idle or have further potential to upscale and attract more visitors, thereby also becoming self-sustainable.
  • Promote Smart and Frugal infrastructure: Currently, the minimum project cost for tourism projects to qualify for infrastructure status is INR 200 crore, which is under consideration to be lowered to INR 50 crore. However, if the barrier can be further reduced, or separate incentive scheme can be carved out for smaller projects, it will encourage private players to participate in small infra.
  • Promote MICE sector: India still has less than 0.5 per cent share of the world meetings and conventions market. Developing more world-class exhibition centres can enable India to attract global conventions and meetings in tourism as well as other sectors.
  • Incentivize Private sector participation: Govt. should incentivise private players to invest in unserved/underserved tourism projects. The incentive pattern can be friendlier for attracting more innovate tourism products vis-à-vis run-of-the-mill projects.
  • An online repository of Land Banks: The states need to develop land bank outlining the land parcels available for tourism projects, which are made accessible over an interactive web platform with the support of Ministry of Tourism. This will enable investors to assess the preliminary viability of their projects basis the nature of land parcel.
  • Medical and Wellness Tourism: India holds a competitive advantage in offering these products and services, and is also one of the most competitive destinations offering specialised treatments at low costs. The need of the hour is now to attract investments to create the supporting infrastructure that can help reap dividends of this global movement led by India, as well as further consolidate offerings in allopathic healthcare and advanced medical procedures. 
  • Coastal Area Development: Coastal tourism forms one of the top tourism themes in India and is also a preferred theme for foreign tourists visiting India. Priority can be accorded for identifying a minimum of 100 coastal destinations/beaches and develop the basic tourism infra in addition to ensuring cleanliness at these locations.
  • Leveraging MSME funds: India’s immense cultural and natural heritage is managed by local communities and small entrepreneurs whose business models now require scale-up through capital infusion, capacity building and skill-building support. Convergence of government schemes with organisations like NABARD and SIDBI among others can be channelized into developing tourism infrastructure in rural areas.
  • Technology for Infrastructure Assessment and Management: Data analytics can provide insights into consumer spending and movement trends which can further facilitate municipalities in crowd management and planning. Enabling a cashless ecosystem for tourists, introducing value-added products like Incredible India Travel Card, application of GIS and emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) are some possible areas of intervention.

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