Environmentalists slam move for cess on hotels near reservesJune 4th, 2011 - 1:04 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) Environmentalists have slammed the environment ministry’s proposal to increase the cess on all privately-run tourist facilities located close to protected areas.
The decision will have negative impact on the tourism sector, experts said.
“The guidelines given in the proposal will be extremely negative for the tourism sector. The local people who are dependent on the earnings from tourism will become poorer,” wildlife expert Raghu Chundawat told IANS.
The ministry in December last year formed a seven-member committee to lay down guidelines for regulating forest and wildlife eco-tourism around protected areas such as tiger reserves, national parks and bio-reserves.
“The state government should levy a local conservation cess as a percentage of turn-over, on all privately-run tourist facilities within five km of the boundary of a protected area,” the committe proposed. According to its guidelines, each state government should decide the percentage of cess by December 31, 2011, and propose it to the committee.
“This will cripple the tourism industry, as they will have to pay 30 percent tax. The critical need of the hour is that we need workable land policies around the protected areas,” said Belinda Wright, executive director, Wildlife Protection Society Of India.
“Wildlife tourism is a way to connect. And if it disappears, it will only give rise to conflicts within the forests for food and other resources. The tourism would reduce drastically and these guidelines in the decision will not benefit anyone,” said Chundawat.
Resort owners also echoed the view, as one of them said: “The decision will directly affect the clients.”
“It will effect the business as earlier 6 percent was given from the annual turnover, and now it will be around 30 percent as proposed. The direct costs would have to be borne by the clients because a hike is obvious,” said Rakesh Ranjan from the Resorts in Corbett group.
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Tags: annual turnover, belinda wright, cess, committe, critical need, environmentalists, india wildlife, member committee, national parks, negative impact, ranjan, state government, tiger reserves, tourism industry, tourism sector, tourist facilities, wildlife expert, wildlife protection, wildlife tourism, workable land