Guwahati, October 20: Assam came up with new ‘Tourism Policy’ with an aim to increase tourist inflow by at least two to three times within next five years. The 'Tourism Policy of Assam 2017', effective from January next year till December 2022, gives special emphasis on making the state a destination of filmmaking by offering a range of incentives to movie producers.
Assam Tourism Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that "Tourism shall be accorded industry status in Assam and all facilities and incentives applicable to industries shall be available to Tourism industry also," after releasing the policy here. According to the policy, 45,00,000 domestic and 20,000 foreign tourists visited Assam as per the figures of 2014.
"This tourism policy paper is aimed at creating a policy framework to move tourism into a major economic sector of Assam increasing the inflow of tourists' by at least two to three-fold in the next five years," it added.
Further, Sarma said the 'Tourism policy of Assam 2017' was approved by the state Cabinet on October 17 and the key focus of it was to attract the film industry to come and shoot in the state.
"Cash grant of 25% or Rs 1 crore, whichever is less, of expenditure in Assam will be offered as reimbursement to Hindi, English and foreign language cinema makers, who have produced a minimum of five feature films.The particular film's 25% shooting, must be in Assam and 25% of cast and crew should be from the state," he added.
There will be an additional 10% grant if the film's storyline is on Assam's culture, tourism and heritage, while another 10% rebate will be offered if more than 50% of the entire shooting is done in the state, the minister informed.
"The producers, who have produced minimum 10 films in Hindi, English or foreign languages, will be provided free accommodation and transport for their important casts during the period of stay for shooting the films in Assam," he added.
The policy also offered a host of other subsidies, including 50% reimbursement of net state GST paid for 10 years by a new tourism unit that will start commercial operations by December 2022, subject to the maximum of 100% fixed capital investment.
"A capital investment subsidy at the rate of 30% of capital investment, subject to a ceiling of Rs 1 crore, shall be available for tourist lodges, hotels, resorts, houseboats and floating restaurants," it added. Besides, a subsidy of 25% of cost payable for connecting power line to the eligible tourism units with a ceiling of Rs 10 lakh will be provided. The Tourism policy also offered a range of financial benefits for constructing approach roads and installing renewable source of energy at the tourist units.
"Private sector will be encouraged to pro-actively participate and invest in tourist places in the tourism sector. A special incentive will be offered as additional 10% capital grant up to Rs 25 lakh for investment in the remote/potential tourist destination of Assam," the document said.