Government Relaxing Entry Restrictions For foreign Players In Hotel Construction

In a move that could help curb hotel room crisis ahead of Commonwealth Games 2010, the government is considering relaxing entry restriction for foreign players in construction of hotels and resorts. It is looking at a suggestion to bring down minimum development rule of real estate from existing 50,000 sq feet to 20,000 sq feet for hotels included in ‘mixed’ real estate projects. This would set the ground for players with smaller net worth to invest in Indian hospitality sector.
With Commonwealth Games just 2 yrs away, the Capital needs thirty thousand further rooms to accommodate an expected 1.5 lakh tourists. Similarly, other states also require additional rooms to tackle the influx of tourists in India in 2010. According to sources, the department of industrial policy and promotion (Dipp), at present, is considering relaxing entry norms in case of hotels only. However, the Investment Commission had recommended to the government to relax the entry restriction in the entire sector, which includes housing and shopping arcades as well.
The Dipp has already circulated a Cabinet note proposing waiver of two conditions — the 3 yr lock-in on foreign investment and the minimum investment criteria of five million dollar for joint ventures or ten million dollar for wholly-owned ventures. This waiver has also been sought for hotel related real estate projects.
However, the country has been seeing an asset bubble since the beginning of the current fiscal. According to realty verticals head R. Ahuja“With real estate prices heading southwards, tardy stock market, high interest rates especially for the real estate sector, the sector will continue to remain low for sometime”.

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