The Udaipur Nagar Nigam has taken the initiative to start charging Travellers Tax on visitors to hotels and resorts within the purview of the Udaipur Municipality. A proposal to the extent was submitted to higher authorities in Jaipur for a gazette notification. The tax amount will be determined according to room rates in the relevant hotels and resorts. As per previous records, nearly 1.2 million tourists visit Udaipur per year and stay across nearly 1,000 hotels and resorts. Once it is notified in the Gazette, the charges will be applicable from December 2022.
The aim of the Travellers Tax is to raise additional revenue from tourists in order to sustain the tourism ecosystem of the city.
As per the proposal, the tax will be levied on rooms where the per day charge is Rs. 3,000 or more. For rooms between Rs 3,000-5000 the tax will be Rs. 200. Tax of Rs. 300 will be charged on rooms between Rs. 5,000-10,000. For rooms renting out for above Rs. 10,000 per day, the charge will be Rs. 500 per day.
"The proposal is as per the previous discussions and deliberations at the Nagar Nigam after consulting stake holders. After approval in the UMC, the proposal has been sent to Jaipur for Gazette Notification. We will act as per the notification" - Himmat Singh Barhat, Commissioner, UMC in conversation with UdaipurTimes.
The Hotel association though, has opposed this initiative as they are of the opinion that higher rates will cause the tourists to stay in places that are outside the muinicipality limits and this could affect the business of the accomodations that fall in the municipality limits. The representative of the Hotels assocaition opines that instead of charging on hotel room rates, the UMC should take steps collect tax at entry points in the manner it is being done at Mt Abu. The Nigam, defending its decision, says that this additional revenue will help in improving the tourism ecosystem, viz. cleanliness, security and availability of facilities, which will benefit the residents as well.
Opinion - Cut to reality: Udaipur Nagar Nigam has launched a number of initiatives in the past as well regarding the safety and cleanliness of the city, but the changes are not too apparent. The administration recently implemented a number of regulations for the city's tourist attractions, including the collection of an entry fee and the prohibition of certain activities like sitting near lakes, forbidding to visit some places in regards to maintaining the cleanliness of the place and many such rules. The important thing to note is that if the administration is taking this money, it should do all in its power to maximize the benefits so envisaaged, so that tourists can benefit from the tax they are paying.