Prime Minister's infrastructure committee has, however,
suggested to the finmin broadening its scope to include all
heritage and pilgrim destinations. In Budget 2007, the finance
minister had announced a five-year tax holiday for budget
hotels in the National Capital Region (NCR) to create infrastructure
for Commonwealth Games, 2010.
Tata-owned Ginger Hotels, Clarks Inn, Choice Group, Lemon
Tree and Bharat Hotels could be some of the major beneficiaries
of the proposed move. Besides corporates, the tax incentive
would encourage local entrepreneurs to invest in hotel projects.
There are 400 million domestic tourists, majority of whom
visit pilgrim centres. If accepted, Buddhist destinations
and pilgrim centres like Amravati, Ajanta and Ellora, Sanchi,
Shrawasti, Sarnath, Bodhgaya, Nalanda, Rajgir, Haridwar, Mathura,
Ajmer, Tirupati and Madurai would see addition of more rooms
for budget tourists.
The average length of stay for a domestic traveller is estimated
to be four days and only 20-25% use hotels. Most of them prefer
to stay with friends and relatives due to affordability and
room shortage. According to the tourism ministry, 230 million
trips were undertaken by domestic tourists in the country
in 2002, and 61 million were accounted for by urban residents
and 169 million by rural inhabitants. The country desperately
needs hotels as it faces a shortage of 1.5 lakh rooms.