Tourism ministry simplifies procedure for classification of hotels

The ministry of tourism has done away with the need to submit the various operational licences issued by local, state and central authorities while applying for classification or reclassification of hotels.

The ministry has also done away with the need to have a liquor serving bar for a hotel to be classified in the 4-star or 5-star category.

Henceforth a hotel need not submit land utilisation certificate, building completion certificate, coastal zone regulation clearance, forest and environment clearance, pollution control clearance, police clearance, fire safety clearance, airport authority clearance, health and sanitation clearance while seeking classification or reclassification.

Instead, the hotel would be required to submit only the current and valid trade licence and bar licence, if applicable.

However, the hotel needs to submit an affidavit to the effect that it is operating after obtaining all necessary licences and clearances that are required under various Acts, rules regulations and guidelines issued by the local, state and central government authorities.

While the basis of classification would continue to be the amenities, facilities and services provided by the unit, considering the long standing demand of hotel industry, the ministry of tourism has decided to classify 4-star and 5-star hotels in non-Heritage sector and Classic category Hotels in Heritage sector without insisting on the presence of a bar that serves alcohol on the premises.

According to the new guidelines, hotels in the categories of 5 Star and 4 Star in non-Heritage sector and Classic category Hotels in Heritage sector can now be classified as ''5 Star with alcohol service'', ''5 Star without alcohol service'', ''4 Star with alcohol service'', ''4 Star without alcohol service'', ''Classic Heritage with alcohol service'' and ''Classic Heritage without alcohol service''.

At present, the ministry of tourism classifies various hotels on voluntary request in the categories of 1 Star, 2 Star, 3 Star, 4 Star, 5 Star and 5 Star Deluxe in non-Heritage sector and in the categories of Basic, Classic and Grand in the Heritage sector. Under the guidelines of the ministry of tourism till now , alcohol service was essential for hotels seeking classification under the categories of 4 Star, 5 Star, 5 Star Deluxe, Classic Heritage and Grand Heritage.

This decision would provide flexibility to hotel owners and management to take considered decision on whether to provide alcohol service or not in their units.

However, to protect the customer's interest, the ministry of tourism has made it mandatory for all classified hotels to make their precise classification status shown on the opening page of their (hotel's) website and also declare such status clearly on their (hotel's) promotional and marketing material without any abbreviations.

This new provision of classification has come into effect immediately, an official release said.

Announcing this at the national conference of state tourism ministers in New Delhi, minister of tourism and culture Shripad Yesso Naik said the step has been taken in consonance with the Prime Minister's directive to cut red tape.

He said the decision would remove unwanted procedure and speed up the classification and re-classification process.

However, the minister made it clear that this does not mean that rules would be overlooked or done away with. On the contrary, in case any violation of any Act, Rule, Regulation or Guideline issued by the Local, state or central government authorities, the respective authorities are fully competent to take action against the unit.

The ministry of tourism's classification or reclassification will remain valid only if the hotel has all licences and clearances that are required under various Acts, Rules, Regulations or Guidelines issued by the local, state or central government authorities for operation of the hotel, current and valid.

He said the ministry of tourism, in order to safeguard the interest of the consumers, would take an affidavit from the hotel authorities that it is operating after obtaining all necessary licences and clearances that are required under various Acts, Rules, Regulations and Guidelines issued by the local, state or central government authorities.