The Federation of
Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) has issued a
statement in view of the recent order of the Honourable Supreme Court of India,
dated March 31st 2017 clarifying that the directions issued by the honourable court
cannot be read down so as to apply only to shops involving sale of liquor
situated within 500 metres of national or state highways.
FAITH reinstated that the Indian Tourism & hospitality
industry – a people intensive industry, respects, honours and commends any
judgement which upholds the safety of human lives, from road related mishaps or
otherwise. As Indians first, we are grateful for a highly functioning legal and
governance system which advocates our safety & security.
In respect of the above, FAITH pointed out the following:
❖ Establishments approved under the
tourism category, (hereafter called 'establishments') exist primarily for
lodging, conferencing, meetings, banqueting & dining out experiences which
include liquor service as part of this overall experiences as listed above.
None of these 'establishments' are licensed for, nor practice, nor promote sale
of liquor to be consumed outside of them. The establishments employ more than 5
crore people directly & indirectly impacting the living conditions of their
almost 20 crores family members. At the recently concluded inauguration of the tunnel
connecting Jammu & Kashmir, the honourable Prime Minister urged the youth to
choose between terrorism & tourism. Displacing such a larger population
from tourism jobs will run the risk of a nationwide unemployment roughly
estimated at a million plus with the consequent risk of pushing this working
population towards undesirable activities to earn their & their dependants'
❖ Almost 9 million tourists visit
India, resulting in almost 27 million foreign visitations across Indian states.
These along with ~ 1.8 bn domestic visitations frequent a significant portion
of these 'establishments' as guests. All of this will be put to risk if the overall
food & beverage experiences are compromised at such legitimate establishments
which pay direct & indirect taxes & levies to both the central &
state governments. After decades of independence, India despite all its natural
geographic & cultural heritage still has only 0.67% of the tourism market
share which will get reduced drastically further if this happens.
❖ A major reason for meetings,
conferences, corporate events, weddings & exhibitions to be held at such
'establishments' in India is to combine them with social get together which
includes food, beverage & entertainment experiences. India has less than an
estimated 0.5% of the world share of this sub-sector of tourism which will see
large scale cancellations. That has already started happening. Tourists who
bring in $20bn+ forex earnings will reduce their coming to India & a large
number of Indians will increasingly prefer travelling out of India for such
events leading to a major outflow of foreign exchange.
❖ Most of the entrepreneurs who bid as
part of Government PPP tourism projects along national & state main roads
& highways had modelled their cash inflows on these experiences considering
room conferencing, food, beverages revenues over their concession periods. But
a lot of these 'establishments' with reduced business will result in distressed
financial assets & may lead to a large scale NPA situation for our banking &
financial system and may severely impact the investment climate in tourism
& hospitality & overall business environment in India.
❖ Developed countries such as USA have
built their significant tourism growth starting from their iconic proven model
of highways led tourism development. USA gets around 2 billion domestic tourism
implying 8 trips per citizen & ~ 70 million foreign tourists. As compared.
India gets 1.1 domestic tourism visits per citizen & just ~ 9 m tourists.
Indian tourism’s hopes of highways
driven tourism model will come to a standstill & will regress Indian
tourism if such 'establishments' will cease to be tourism venues.
❖ We see a huge concern of liquor
bootlegging & it's emergent social evils of a black-market economy & a
corruption driven parallel economy which the governments are trying so hard to
battle & weed out of our system.
❖ Even states collectively, across
India will run the risk of losing revenues which could run upto an estimated 1lakh
❖ Each human life matters & there
is no justification for any fatality caused by negligent driving drunken &
otherwise. The whole tourism & hospitality industry appreciates the TV
campaign undertaken by Ministry of road & surface transport which
discourages drinking & driving & pleads that its 'establishments' don’t
sell liquor for takeaway.
❖ India’s Tourism, Travel &
hospitality is estimated to contribute to ~ USD200 Billion, ~ 9.5% of Indian
GDP, around 5crs employment, I.e. ~ 9% of Indian employment, ~ USD$ 30 billion+
investment at ~ 5.5% of total capital investment in India. This capital investment
is immobile & cannot be relocated or picked up & moved driven by decisions
which challenge their business models on a retrospective basis.
❖ The tourism industry severely
criticises the core issue of drunken driving, be it in city roads or on
highways. The industry will support all move to promote responsible driving
including responsible policing along all our roads & highways to prevent drunken
driving which has happened anywhere, anytime or from anyplace.
❖ However the tourism industry
requests that on a retrospective basis any damaging impact on investments in
fixed capital assets & on large scale employment should be re-considered
while strictly ensuring enforcing through effective policing for the very noble
social cause & goal of preventing 'drunken driving with zero tolerance.'