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India speeds up hotel approvals and classifications
Rohit Kaul, New Delhi, April 5, 2013

INDIA'S Ministry of Tourism officially launched a web-based system for hotel approval and classification on April 3, allowing hoteliers to log in to track their application statuses real-time.


“With this system in place, an application has to be examined within 15 working days of being received. Thereafter, a hotel inspection will be scheduled within the next 15 working days. The system will ensure timely delivery of approvals and accountability from the concerned officials,” said tourism minister K Chiranjeevi.


He added: “The recommendations of the Hotel and Restaurant Approval & Classification Committee will be communicated on the spot (during the hotel inspection) to the applicant and these recommendations will also be put on the website. A final decision should be established within 10 days of the inspection.”


Chiranjeevi also shared that the ministry is planning to receive applications electronically in the near future.


The Indian hospitality sector has lauded the move, saying that it would bring transparency to the hotel approval and classification system, while ensuring timely approvals.


“In the past, hotels were not able to apply for various other approvals they required to begin operations, due to the delay in classification and approval procedures. With the new online system, hotels will be relieved,” said Vivek Nair, president, Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India.


However, some operators still see room for improvement.


“It is a great initiative, and this will ensure that the industry grows by leaps and bounds…However, the ministry should also include camp sites, eco lodges and river cruises,” said Tejbir Singh Anand, managing director, Holiday Moods.

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