Guwahati : To move the Assam tourism sector into a major economic sector and an aim to increase tourist inflow by 2-3 times more within next five years, Assam government on Thursday declared an ambitious Tourism Policy.
Assam tourism minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had released the Tourism Policy of Assam 2017 and it will effect from January next year till December 2022.
The Assam minister said that, tourism shall be accorded as an industry and all facilities and incentives will be available in tourism industry also.
'Under the new tourism policy, we will provide a range of incentives to the film producers and aim to make the state as a destination of film making,' Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
The new policy aimed to promote Assam Tourism with a new approach of vigorous massive campaigning, to build a global brand 'Awesome Assam' to attract National and International Tourist, identifying most popular and attractive tourist destinations of the state and develop tourist infrastructure in an around them, to facilitate extensive involvement of private sector and active participation of local community in all aspects of Tourism promotion, to conduct special skill development Certificate programs of local youths in Hospitality and for Tourism Sector, the advantage of Government of India's Skill India and â€˜Hunar Se Rojgar tak' shall be leveraged.
The Assam tourism policy stated that, the first tourism policy of the State was announced in 2008 underlining the importance of Public Private Partnership which has considerably increased the tourist footfalls to the place.
'Around 45,00,000 domestic and 20,000 foreign tourists visited Assam as per figures of 2014. Assam becomes a Nationally and Internationally acclaimed all-season Tourist destination for its unique wildlife, bio-diversity and experience of an unexploited wonderland. Tourism is to be one of the main sources of income-generation for the people. It will also be a vibrant and significant contributor to the sustainable development of the State of Assam,' said in the policy.
The Assam minister said that, the new policy was approved by the state cabinet on October 17 last and it aims to make Assam a tourist Hub for North East India and as a hot destination for the tourists from East and South East Asian Countries.
'To make the state as a destination of film making, several attractive incentives have been initiated. The state government has decided to provide subsidy up to 45 percent of the total cost, if shooting of a film has been done in Assam. If entire shooting of a film is done in the state, then the state government will provide subsidy of 25 percent of total expenditure to Hindi, English and foreign language film makers. Apart from it, additional 10 percent rebate will be available if the story of the film is based in Assam. Also 10 percent rebate will be available if 50 percent shooting of the film have been done in Assam,' Sarma said.
'The producers who have produced minimum 10 films in Hindi, English and Foreign language will be provided free accommodation and transport for their important casts during the period of stay for shooting of films in Assam,' Sarma said.
The Assam tourism minister further said that, a capital investment subsidy at the rate of 30 percent of capital investment subject to a ceiling of Rs 1 crore shall be available for Tourist lodges, Hotels, Resorts, Houseboats and floating Restaurant and located in tourism locations.
'The eligible units shall be entitled to avail of capital investment subsidy under this policy subject to the condition that it has not availed of such benefit under any other Central, State Government policy. 25 percent of the cost payable to Assam State Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL) for drawal of power line to the eligible units including the cost of transformer subject to a ceiling of Rs 10 lakhs. 75 percent of the cost of construction of approach road to the premises of eligible units shall be reimbursed in the form of a subsidy subject to a ceiling of Rs 10 lakhs.
Private sector will be encouraged to proactively participate and invest in tourist places in the Tourism sector. A special incentive will be offered as additional 10 percent capital grant up to Rs 25 lakhs for investment in remote, potential tourist destination of Assam. For private properties in Tourism sector, both existing and new, 25 percent of investment on renewal sources of energy will be reimbursed subject to maximum of Rs 10 lakhs. The state government will also provide to reimbursement of 50 percent of net SGST paid for a period of 10 years from the date of such commercial operation subject to maximum 100 percent of fixed capital investment with a minimum investment of Rs.1 crore in the tourism locations,' Sarma said.
Himanta Biswa Sarma also said that, tourism department tagline 'Awesome Assam' will be launched from November 1 through several brand promotional activities in Japan, Canada, USA, Singapore, UK and other European, Asian countries.
Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra is the brand ambassador of the state tourism.
(Reporting by Hemanta Kumar Nath)