India will face a shortfall of 1,50,000 rooms for tourist accommodation by 2010, says a government report.

It wants more hotels, even on the beaches, to meet tourists' needs, and five world-class convention centres to promote conference tourism. "Land should made available to construct more hotels. There will a shortage of 100,000 rooms in the budget category in 2010 when we host the Commonwealth Games," Anwarul Hoda, chairman of the Planning Commission's High Level Group on Social Services (HLGSS) told reporters. "We need hotels on beaches to promote beach tourism," he said. Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia released the HLGSS report here Tuesday.

"The services sector is a source of dynamism and strength for the economy. The growth in services sector is tremendous, and yet there is no scope for complacency," said Ahluwalia. The services comprising trade, hotels, tourism, railways, banking and insurance, real estate and others contributed approximately 68.6 percent to the overall gross domestic product (GDP) between 2002-07, the HLGSS report said.
In order to boost tourism along the coastal region, the panel suggested revising the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) norms by the Ministry of Environment and Forest.
"Beaches are important destinations for the affluent tourists. India has a coastline of 6,000 km but beach tourism is not well developed. The government should allow hotels on beaches, as in other countries," said Hoda.

As per the existing norms, the coastal land up to 500 metre from the high tide line (HTL) and 100 metre along banks of creeks, estuaries, backwater and rivers subject to tidal fluctuations, is called the CRZ, where commercial activities are prohibited. In order to attract more tourists, the HLGSS recommended streamlining air and road transport, better maintenance of heritage sites, and evolving an integrated infrastructure development programme for the tourist sites. "All states should identify special tourisms zones, and work out a sustainable tourism development plans including guidelines to regulate developmental activities in the area," said Hoda. The Planning Commission set up the HLGSS in May 2007 to examine "the different aspects influencing the performance of the services sector and suggest short and long term policy measures to improve and sustain competitiveness".

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