New Delhi,By Astha Saxena,September 06,2015:-With an aim to improve the Capital’s night-life culture and promote it as ‘tourist-friendly’, the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government has decided to develop 15 high street locations in the city.
The list of the 15 hubs include Connaught Place, Hauz Khas Village, Khan Market and Karol Bagh, among others.
“All these places in Delhi attract a large number of international tourists. We will be developing them in a way that all these places will be of international standard. The idea is to promote and establish Delhi on the tourism map,” Delhi Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra told Mail Today.
As per the plan all roads in these areas will be completely revamped. These hubs will have restaurants, shopping facilities, help desks and cultural activities to entertain the visitors.
“We want all the visitors to have the same level of comfort and ambience as they experience abroad. Delhi has a huge potential to see an increase in tourism and such hubs will help in spreading a good name for the city. The work will start soon,” Mishra added.
The state government is working with the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) in developing these streets.
In a letter to NRAI, Mishra had invited suggestions for developing these hubs.
“Tourists will be able to have a great experience. For this, we are proposing to develop within the city 15 special tourism hubs where tourists — both domestic and international — can have a great experience in a safe and friendly environment,” the letter said.
Apart from promoting these areas as tourism-friendly, the government will also ensure that the hubs are equally safe.
“Safety is one of the major issues which we will be focusing on. We will also speak to Delhi Police so that we could have night patrolling in these areas.
"All these 15 hubs will be safe for the visitors,” said the Delhi tourism minister.
The NRAI members have met several people in the government, from the tourism minister to senior bureaucrats, and feel that that there is definite interest in simplifying the system.
“We had discussed setting up of 15 tourist hubs with the tourism department. These will give huge leverage to dining and, hence, promote the industry as well. The tourism minister has also asked the municipal corporation and NDMC to allow use of open spaces for serving food,” said Riyaaz Amlani, president, NRAI.
A three-member committee, headed by finance secretary SN Sahai, is looking at various aspects of how to ease doing business in the Capital and is expected to submit a report on the licensing structure to the chief minister in the coming days.
In a recent report released by the tourism minister, the national Capital has slipped from third to fourth position in the foreign tourist arrival list.
According to the foreign footfall figures of 2013-14, provided by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on the basis of ticket sales at the three world heritage sites in the city — Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb and Red Fort — there was a decrease of 30 per cent in the number of foreign tourists who visited these sites.
The industry experts attributed the decline to the adverse publicity attracted by Delhi after the gruesome Nirbhaya gang-rape case on December 16, 2012.
According to the tourism ministry report, there has been a decline in foreign tourist footfall from almost every country.
Most of the tourists still come from the US, but the UK, which was second on the list, has now slipped to third position.
If we compare the data of foreign tourist arrivals (FTA) in 2013, the share of the US in FTAs was 15.58 million tourists, while in 2014 it was only 14.57 million tourists.
All is, however, is not lost. In April 2014, Delhi ranked 11th in a list of top 25 tourist destinations in Asia, in a survey conducted by TripAdvisor.
It had gone up from spot 19 to 11 as the most admired and well-reviewed destination in the continent. Besides, the city could also regain its position as the number one destination in India.
Nodal officer to ease event licensing
By Mail Today Bureau
The Delhi government has appointed a nodal officer for creating single-window licensing process for entertainment programmes.
The move comes after prolonged negotiations with the Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA), an industry body.
The process intends to create a favourable environment for acquiring licence to conduct events in the Capital.
The state government has also agreed that EEMA member companies can do ticketed events in Delhi without paying entertainment tax in advance.
The decision comes in the wake of a series of meetings between the members of EEMA and the Delhi government led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra.
According to “Easing of Regulations to Event Management in Delhi,” a report prepared by Sanjay Kumar, tax commissioner, excise and entertainment, organisers at present have to go through a number of hurdles before getting the final go-ahead.
“Till the last minute they (organisers) are unsure whether they will be able to conduct the programme or not,” states the report.
“We will follow the recommendations in the report and ease out the process,” Delhi Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra told Mail Today.
As per the report, an organiser has to file an application under the Regulations for Licensing and Controlling Places of Public Amusement, 1980, to conduct an event.
“Though the regulation does not require any additional NOCs (no objection certificates), applicants are asked to submit clearances from fire, electricity, local police and traffic before permission is granted by the licensing branch of the Delhi Police, ” the report adds.
For event managers, getting NOC from the Delhi Fire Service is a matter of “highest concern”.
This NOC is insisted upon even for temporary structures. Since the fire department cannot grant permission until the structure is erected, the event is on tenterhooks till the last moment.
The next NOC comes from the electric inspector of Delhi’s labour department.
“This NOC is insisted for events organised in the open and permission is often held up till the last minute,” the report states.
Restaurateurs allege that having multiple agencies for granting licenses leads to corruption and harassment.
“While the Centre and previous governments have been talking about ease of doing business, nothing much has changed on ground. There are 15 different types of clearances we have to go through ,” said Prakul Kumar, secretary general of National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI).