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Meet on promoting tourism in northern circuit

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, SEPT .17. With a view to promoting and increasing tourist traffic across the Northern State tourist circuit, a meeting of State Secretaries and Directors of Tourism and Transport of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan and Delhi was held here today. It was presided over by the Punjab Tourism Minster, Jagmohan Singh Kang.Mr. Kang said that there was tremendous potential to generate revenue in the sector, which these States were not able to exploit to the full due to lack of coordination among the northern States and in the absence of a single type of tax structure for each category. He emphasised the need to have a uniform tax regime in each category on tourist vehicles in these States. The southern States, he said, had already set up a forum to rationalise the tax structure of tourist vehicles and taken the lead in promoting their destinations.

The Punjab Tourism Minister said that tourism had become a major phenomenon of modern society and had created a niche for itself and had the capacity to transform the economy in a multi-faceted way. Moreover, contribution made by this sector to employment generation was enormous, he added.Mr. Kang said that Punjab had taken the initiative to sort out the lingering disparities in tax on tourist vehicles in the contiguous northern States, which was causing inconvenience to tourists. He said this needed readjustment without sacrificing the revenue of the concerned States. Because of high tax, tourist operators were evading paying taxes and taking recourse to different escape routes.

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