Union Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi has announced the setting up of the Southern Zonal Tourism Council (SZTC) comprising the states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry. The Minister, in his interaction with the office bearers of World Travel & Tourism Council- India Initiative (WTTCII), welcomed the idea that emanated from the WTTCII Bekal Retreat held in September this year.
“The setting up of the SZTC will help facilitate development of Tourism and tourism products of Southern India in a holistic and comprehensive manner. Development of Integrated Tourism Circuits among the Southern states will be the way forward. The issues of competitive taxation of tourism products, inter-state taxation, seamless tourist movement by facilitating smooth facilitation at entry and exit points of the states will be addressed by the council,” Chiranjeevi said.
The Ministry will be writing to the Chief Secretaries of the States, who would Chair the SZTC by rotation. Tourism Secretary and Finance Secretary of the respective states will be permanent invitees to the SZTC. Furthermore, the SZTC will interact with the stakeholders to understand the concerns and issues facing the tourism industry, and also have a mandate to look at the inter-State taxation on tourist vehicles, interstate permits, smooth facilitation at the entry and exit points of the states, and development of requisite infrastructure to and at destinations.
Welcoming the move, WTTCII in a statement said that this is an excellent step in the direction of a coordinated and planned approach to develop tourism in South India. This move will enhance the necessary infrastructure, policy and other interventions needed to take tourism to the next level in this region.
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