FHRAI Convention at Chandigarh Nov 10 to 12, 2006

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New FHRAI President seeks infrastructure and industry status for Hotel sector

By Deepak Arora

CHANDIGARH, Nov 12: The new FHRAI President, Mr Rajesh Mishra, has demanded infrastructure and industry status for the hotel industry.

Soon after being elected as the President of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), Mr Mishra also sought uniform code of taxation for the hotels and restaurants spread all over the country.

The other members of the new FHRAI executive team, which were elected on Sunday, are: Mr R S Bedi, Mr M P Purushothaman and Mr Rajindera Kumar (Vice Presidents); Mr S P Jain (Honorary Secretary); Dr Sunil Gulati (Honorary Treasurer) and Mr K Syama Raju (Joint Honorary Secretary).

Mr Mishra took over from the outgoing president, Mr Manbeer Choudhary.

To get the industry status to the hotel industry, Mr Mishra said the Central Government must amend the Industrial Development and Registration Act 1956 to give benefits to the hotel sector.

To meet the rising demand for hotel rooms in the country, the new President said the Government must adopt public-private partnership model whereby it can take 25 per cent stake in the hotel.

Explaining further, he said the government can sell the share to the hotel owners three years later. "If the hotel does not perform well, then the government can take it back and re-sell it someone else. This way the land can be saved from going in the hands of speculators."

He also called for giving a chance to meritorious people in the PPP model. "Otherwise those who have wealth will continue to expand their wealth."

The FHRAI Secretary General, Mr Kamal Sharma, informed that at age 44 Mr Mishra is the youngest president of the Federation. "Mr Mishra is also a qualified charter accountant, company secretary and a lawyer," he added.

Mr Sharma said "Mr Mishra's election as the President will give a great impetus and boost to the FHRAI."

Mr Mishra said the hotels and restaurants should be brought under the essential services act so that sudden political bandhs do not disrupt the life of the tourists.

The president said time has to develop the budget hotels in the country. "The tourism policy should lay stress on the budget hotels and the government should promote them by giving them more tax benefits."

FHRAI gets youngest-ever President

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Nov 12: The new FHRAI President, Mr Rajesh Mishra, is the youngest President of FHRAI. He is a highly qualified finance person and his qualifications include B.Com (Hons.) from University of Kolkata, Chartered Accountant from Institute of Chartered Accountant of India and Company Secretary from the Institute of Company Secretaries of India. He also holds the Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Kolkata.

Mr. Mishra is on of the prominent members of both FHRAI and HRAEI and has held many important members of both FHRAI and HRAEI and has held many important positions in the last few years. He served as Honorary Secetary HRAEI for 4 years. He served as the Honorary Treasurer of the FHRAI from 2003 to 2005 and as Honorary Joint Secretary more recently in the year 2005-06. Other than being actively involved with FHRAI and HRAEI, he is the President of Linguistic Association of India and an active member of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

He has 21 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He is successfully running his chain as Managing Director in the brand name of Mishra's, an ISO 9001 : 2000 Company. Mishras is a very popular brand in Eastern India. They have four branches; two at Kolkata, one at Durgapur and a Three Star Hotel at Darjeeling. There are 2 projects in collaboration with West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Limited, a Government of West Bengal Undertaking.

Besides being a guiding force in the matters of hospitality industry, Mr. Mishra in his intellectual pursuit also takes great interest in both national and international matters and is a prolific writer. He is often invited by the leading television and radio channels for his views on topics concerning Tourism industry, Union Budget and Financial markets at both State and National level.

Mr. Mishra is contributing significantly towards the poor and under priviledged of the society. He is associated with an NGO imparting free and subsidized education for over 700 under privileged children in Dist. Azamgarh, U.P. He is also the Vice President of reputed Heart Centre of Kolkata catering to the poor and middle class people.

Punbaj Governor opens FHRAI convention

By Sushma Arora

CHANDIGARH, Nov 10: The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Gen S F Rodrigues (Retd) on Friday urged the entrepreneurs to strengthen the tourism infrastructure in the region and help develop Chandigarh as a hub of sustained tourism growth.

Inaugurating the three-day FHRAI convention here, Gen Rodrigues offered a joint venture to the hotel industry to a mutual partnership for developing quality tourism in the region.

In his address, the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, called for investment in developing the budget hotels that has a vast potential.

Keeping in view the growing demand for trained manpower for tourism and hotel industry, the Haryana Tourism Minister, Ms Kiran Choudhary, said the State is setting up hotel management institutes under the public-private partnership.

To begin with, she said two institutes were being set up at Rohtak and Faridabad for which prospective entrepreneurs have been short-listed and the process was at an advanced stage of finalization.

Others who spoke on the occasion included the FHRAI president, Mr Manbeer Choudhary and the Chairman of the Convention Committee, Mr B B Bahl.

Haryana mulls European-style budget hotels

By Deepak Arora

CHANDIGARH, Nov 10: The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda has stressed the need for investment in the sector of budget hotels saying that this area has vast potential in Haryana too where tourism was being promoted in a big way.

The Chief Minister, who was speaking at the 42nd Annual Convention of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) on the theme of "MissionTourism-Incredible India", here today, said that even during his recent visit to Europe he had seen that budget hotels have great future.

Mr Hooda said that he was going ahead to talk to the manufacturers of Spyker Cars as while in Netherlands recently, the Managing Director of Spyker Cars had expressed his desire to invest in Haryana to set up a manufacturing unit near Delhi and was also interested in developing a racing track including a specialized track for Formula One Racing.

These projects would further encourage the setting up of a number of budget hotels in the adjoining areas, especially around Delhi, he added.

While referring to the issue of plots for budget hotels raised by the President of the FHRAI, Mr Manbeer Choudhary, Mr Hooda said that Haryana already has a large number of applications pending with it, therefore, it would not advertise for setting up of budget hotels.

Mr Hooda said that the scenario of tourism was fast changing globally and the region too had vast potential. Although Haryana lacked in natural spots yet ample potential for promotion of tourism was being created at several places in the State as tourism industry could also generate ample employment opportunities.

Besides trying hard to create artificial spots in Haryana, the Government has taken steps to project Kurukshetra as a place of pilgrimage and great tourist attraction on the international map. Other such places like Panipat and Pehowa too were being promoted because of State's rich cultural heritage, he added.

He said that Haryana surrounded the National Capital of Delhi from three sides and the holding of ensuing Commonwealth Games would give tremendous boost to tourism in the State. While referring to the potential of tourism sector for investment, he narrated an incidence saying that once he was asked about the difference between the new and old generations. He said his reply was that the new generation is in a hurry to earn as well as to spend whereas the old generation was not in such a hurry.

The Haryana Minister of State for Tourism, Mrs Kiran Choudhry, said that keeping in view the growing demand for trained manpower for tourism and hotel industry, Haryana Government has decided to set up new institutes of hotel management at various places in the State in public-private partnership.

To begin with, two such institutes were being set up at Rohtak and Faridabad for which prospective entrepreneurs have been short listed and the process was at an advanced stage of finalisation. In case of other places, she said, the Government was identifying suitable land for the purpose and an advertisement seeking expression of interest from the private sector would be issued accordingly.

She also invited the entrepreneurs attending the convention to join hands with the State Government in this endeavour. She said that the Government was also in the process
of formulating a tourism policy in consultation with private sector and other Government Departments so as to tap the potential of tourism and project the State as tourism destination.

She said that an upto date strategy was being devised to market, position and jointly develop Kurukshetra on the international tourist map in public-private partnership. A piece of land measuring six acres has already been allocated to the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) to build a unique temple highlighting the glory of Lord Krishna and the eternal and timeless wisdom of Bhagvadgita.

While referring to the arrangements being made for 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, she said that the Union Tourism Ministry expected about 90,000 visitors during the games out of which about 35,000 people would require hotel accommodation. Haryana has been required to commission about 10,000 rooms in the periphery of Delhi before 2010.

Concerted efforts were being made through State's land allocating agencies like Haryana Urban Development Authority and Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation to make adequate number of rooms available prior to these games.

The President of the FHRAI, Mr Manbeer Choudhary said that Haryana was a leading State in creation of shopping malls and a lot of developmental activity was going on in Haryana under the leadership of Chief Minister Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Mr Hooda also inaugurated Hospitality India-2006, an exhibition organised on the occasion. He went around various stalls aimed at promoting tourism in the region and displaying gadgets and cutlery for hospitality sector. He evinced interest in some of the products displayed there.

Govt plans to set up special tourism zones

CHANDIGARH, Nov 10: The Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India, has proposed the setting up of a Special Tourism Zone (STZ) at various parts of the country to give a boost to the tourism industry.

Stating this, Union Tourism Secretary, Mr A K Mishra said that under the ministry's proposal, the state governments could identify the land and, through the single window process, could encourage private companies to venture in a public -private partnership. He was speaking at the national convention of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI) being organised here.

Emphasising on the development of budget hotels in the country, Mishra said with the economic growth in the last decade, business hotels with high tariff rates have seen a surge but budget hotels which are affordable for Indian tourists and for leisure tourism are still few.

"If we do not concentrate on budget hotels, where the tariff is between $50 to $150 for a day, our country may loose the race to countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka where such facilities are in plenty,'' he added.

Mishra said that the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Civil Aviation and the state governments have to work in tandem to boost tourism and raise infrastructure in the country. "Land-owing agencies must adopt proactive land policy whereby land could be given by way of lease on annual rental basis," he said.

P K Goel, Managing Director of the Indian Railways' Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), while making a presentation, highlighted the roles of the IRCTC in promotion of tourism. He talked about budget hotels developed by the railways and the luxury trains being started for tourism.

Goel laid special emphasis on the aspect of maintaining cleanliness and provision of basic amenities like toilets at the most frequented tourists destinations in the country.

CITCO Managing Director J S Bir highlighted the various projects coming up for augmenting the nascent tourism sector in the city. An exhibition for the promotion of tourism is also being organised parallel to the three-day convention.

FHRAI convention in images

Pix By Deepak Arora

FHRAI convention in Chandigarh from Nov 10

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Nov 9: Punjab Governor Gen (Retd) S F Rodrigues and Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, will inaugurate the three-day annual convention of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) on Friday.

The 42nd convention, which has the theme "Mission Tourism: Incredible India", is being held in the City Beautiful, Chandigarh, after a gap of 12 years, according to Mr Manbeer Choudhary, President FHRAI.

"The top brass and CEOs of the hotel industry in India and over 700 delegates will participate in the convention," said Mr B B Bahl, Chairman of the Convention Organising Committee of FHRAI.

Union Tourism Secretary, Mr A K Misra, and the Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Mr Sanjay Kothari, would also be participating in thematic sessions of the convention.

Mr Choudhary said "the convention would be a meeting point for the top executives and owners of leading hotel chains in the country and abroad. This year, the convention would have two distinct features. One would be highlighting the role of women entrepreneurs. Second would be launch of the life-time achievement award."

He said another focus area of the convention would be the participation of prospective investors who are willing to build hotels in Chandigarh. "This will open whole gambit of opportunities for the City Beautiful," he added.

The newly appointed Secretary General of FHRAI, Mr Kamal Sharma, said "the convention will 10 special sessions with special focus on Public-Private partnership, Budget 2007, Branding opportunity, Investment opportunities in Northern India, Successful women in hospitality industry and Synergy among travel trade and hospitality industry.

Mr Sharma said the Haryana Tourism Minister, Ms Kiran Choudhary, will address the special session on "Emergence of vibrant Haryana and investment opportunities in Haryana".

To pay salute to the toil and struggle of women power in our industry, Mr Choudhary said "we have planned a special 'women only' panel discussion, wherein, successful women in the hospitality industry will share their experiences and motivate other women to follow in their footsteps."

An exhibition 'Hospitality India 2006', which will showcase products and services from the suppliers, is being organized at the convention, said Mr Bahl.

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