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Amusement Industry may Make a Beeline for Maharashtra

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Amusement Industry may Make a Beeline for Maharashtra

Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

By enticing the amusement sector with major economic and land sops with its latest tourism policy, Maharashtra has played a smart card in its bid to entice a return of industry and to secure its place as India's most developed state. As an industry, the amusement, leisure and entertainment sector is burgeoning, with national investment commitments of Rs. 2,800 crore (as of '06) and a growth rate of 25%.

That Maharashtra wants a lion share of future investments in the sector - which is expected to surpass that of '06 - is evident in the timing of the 'Tourism Policy 2006'; released before the 7th annual IAAPI Trade Show held in Mumbai this year. The IAAPI is Indian amusement's apex body and its annual trade shows are the largest gathering of investors, park operators and ride and equipment manufacturers from India and abroad.

Authored by Bhushan Gagrani, Mahrashtra's secretary of tourism, the 'Tourism Policy 2006' provides for far-reaching financial sops and incentives for new as well as existing amusement projects; the latter of which has been highly appreciated by the industry.

"The 2006 policy has cleared the ambiguity which was prevalent in previous documents. We compliment the MTDC in implementing such a progressive policy as has been the need for some time. It (The policy) receives an 8 on 10 in our books," states Rajen Shah, president, IAAPI.

Existing projects have been encouraged to increase facilities by making them eligible if they 'increase investment in either fixed capital or capacity by atleast 50% of the gross capital and capacity at the end of the last financial year'; Section 5.2 (c).

Another important initiative is the considerable reduction in the tax burden. A total exemption up to 10 years has been provided from Luxury, Entertainment and Amusement taxes. "The Amusement industry is a service for society. The benefits of tax rationalisation will be transferred to our guests, making family outings more feasible and frequent," states Rajen Shah, president, IAAPI.

A number of government agencies are also being roped in by the Maharashtra government in its effort to reduce the time frame to develop destination from 10 years to a short 2 years. 'Hence it is proposed that all infrastructure providing Departments (PWD, Irrigation, Power etc.) and Corporations (MSRTC, CIDCO, MMB, etc) shall reserve a minimum of 5 per cent of their annual budget outlay to be spent strictly on projects and development plans prepared by the Tourism Department'; Section 17.

POLICY HIGHLIGHTS

FISCAL INCENTIVES

Tax exemption will be available to new units and expansion of existing units (as per the conditions set out earlier) in respect of the following taxes, up to 100 per cent of capital investment or completion of the eligible period of 5, 7 or 10 years, whichever is earlier. The tax exemption will be available to eligible units conforming to the list in Annexure `B' and falling within the eligible areas for a period of 5,7 and 10 years respectively for A, B and C areas as shown in Annexure `B' subject to the condition hereinafter.

The certificate of entitlement and the eligibility certificate shall automatically stand cancelled on completion of the above period or the limit prescribed for eligible investment.

List Of Taxes

-- Total exemption from Luxury Tax (as applicable to Hotels) for a period of 7 and 10 years depending on the location of the tourism project in the B and C zones respectively and 50 per cent exemption for a period of 5 years in A zone.

-- Total exemption from Entertainment Tax/Amusement Tax for a period of 5, 7 and 10 years depending on the location of the tourism project in the A, B, and C zones respectively.

-- Total exemption from Stamp Duty for the projects located in B and C zones and 50 per cent exemption from stamp duty for projects located in zone.

Electricity Concessions

Electricity duty will be levied at industrial rates for the respective period.

Other Concessions:

-- 75 per cent exemption from registration charges and 50 per cent concession from payment of permit charges for sightseeing buses registered as such as approved by the transport authority, having minimum seating capacity of 25 seats and operating in Municipal Corporation areas and hill stations.

-- Total exemption from Property Tax and Non-Agricultural Tax to all tourism projects run/owned/ by MTDC.

-- The water rate/tariff shall be levied at maximum Industrial Rate.

-- Property Tax shall be charged at Residential Rate.

NDZ

Many tourism areas can attract a number of foreign as well as domestic tourists provided suitable areas/ plots can be offered to such projects. As Government has allowed IT activities in No Development Zones (NDZ), tourism activities such as entertainment centres which include small golfing facilities, tourism villages, handicraft displays with no extra FSI should also be considered in the NDZ.

Renewal of Licences

Tourism projects require various licenses and clearances like lodging house license, eating house license, Police permissions, license under the Shop and Establishment Act, license under the Food and Drug Admin. Act etc. These licences have to be renewed every year. By this Policy 2006, these licenses/ permissions will require renewal every 5 years instead of the present annual renewal.

The complete Policy is available online at www.iaapi.org

IAAPI 2007

As the only amusement, leisure and entertainment association in India, IAAPI's annual trade show is the best business and networking opportunity for the industry. In its seventh edition, the three day conclave (Feb 21-23) registered its best, with attendance in the region of 3000 industry associates. The event also set a record for the highest number of exhibitors, 75; from 15 countries (Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, USA and India).

ABOUT IAAPI:

The Indian Association of Amusement Parks and Industries (IAAPI), established in 1999 is a non-profitable organization, comprising of operators, manufacturers, importers, traders, suppliers, distributors and other related industrialists from the amusement, leisure and entertainment industry in India. IAAPI is the only authentic source of information for the industry in India.

IAAPI has played a pivotal role in the development of inbound and domestic tourism and has generated significant development in this sector. IAAPI's existence has been essential to enfold the entire industry under one umbrella and give it a united voice. Being a representative body of the industry, IAAPI provides a suitable platform for its members to present their perspective.

VISION

Keeping the ultimate users in mind, IAAPI intends be a body to influence the decision of policy makers, investors and the fraternity, which should lead to the growth of the sector.

OBJECTIVES

The association's prime objective is:

-- To promote, encourage, protect, and safeguard the interests of the sector.

-- To promote, encourage, protect and safeguard the interests of the manufacturers and suppliers of various infrastructural amenities and facilities pertaining to the industry.

-- To collate information relating to amusement, leisure and entertainment, and be an authentic source of information and to advice on the opening, operating, managing and functioning of the industry's operations of various types, styles, designs and objects.

-- To maintain high standards of service to its members.

Please visit www.iaapi.org for the latest Tradeshow and Industry updates.

Alan D'Mello, Hotel Fortunes, + 91 9821885468 alan@hotelfortunes.com

Source: Indian Association of Amusement Parks and Industries (Business Wire India)

Press release presented here is sourced from the Source mentioned above and is provided on as-is basis. Please contact the Company / Source directly for any further information in regard to this release. This website will be unable to assist you in regard to the accuracy or correctness of information in this release.

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