Treat hotels at par with IT companies-SIHRA

Chennai: The South India Hotels & Restaurants Association (SIHRA) has petitioned the Tamil Nadu government to treat the hotel industry on par with IT companies for building norms. According to the hoteliers association, IT parks are granted a floor space index (FSI) of 1:3 while hotels are classified along with other commercial high-rise structures.

"High cost of land, lack of centrally located land area in key business districts coupled with low FSI hinder fresh investments in this sector," says M P Purushothaman, president, SIHRA.

Citing the like examples of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, he says the Tamil Nadu government too should relax norms so that the existing hotels could increase their capacity to meet the increased demand. "Hotel projects are long-gestation projects whereas demand for rooms are not."

According to him, Chennai has 75 approved hotels with around 5,300 rooms. "There is a clear need for an additional 4,000 rooms in various categories within the next 48 months. If the FSI norms are relaxed the existing hotels can add another 1,000 rooms," he says. According to industry officials, a hotel room needs around 600-square feet, which will not result in any additional load on the city's infrastructure.

Hoteliers also demand power rates at par with the other industries and the reduction of luxury tax by 2.5 per cent to 10 per cent.

Speaking about the ongoing hotel projects in the four Southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Pondicherry, R Rangachari, secretary general, SIHRA, says, "Around 112 hotels are coming up in the Southern region. Most of them are budget hotels. The state and / Union Territory-wise break-up is: Andhra Pradesh 12, Karnataka 15, Tamil Nadu 29, Kerala 54 and two in Pondicherry."

With demand booming, SIHRA has amended its articles of association to increase the number of vice presidents by three. With this amendment all the four Southern states will have one representative each to take up with respective governments the issues affecting the industry.