Ladakh has rolled out its first tourism incentive policy with focus on ensuring equitable and sustainable development of all regions in the Union Territory, an official spokesperson said on Sunday.
Commissioner Secretary Tourism and Culture Rigzin Samphel has laid special emphasis on the new Capital Outright Investment Subsidy which aspires to promote a concept of small and beautiful fixed assets in Ladakh based on local tradition and architecture, the spokesperson said.
As per the Department of Tourism, there is an urgent need to give emphasis on promotion of tourism assets in remote and virgin tourist destinations of Ladakh.
“Any investment made in such assets should be of a value which will have low gestation period. Therefore, instead of large hotels and guest houses, the incentive policy aims at the overarching principal of small and sustainable tourism assets,” the spokesperson said.
He said the upper limit of the Capital Outright Investment Subsidy has been increased by 33 per cent from the previous Rs 30 lakh to Rs 40 lakh.
“The government will grant 30 per cent Capital Outright Investment Subsidy on the fixed assets for new tourism units. This subsidy will also be available for expansion of the existing units but will be restricted to investments made on the extension of the unit only,” he said.
However, the spokesperson said subsidy on both accounts would be restricted to an upper ceiling of Rs 40 lakh for buildings using traditional building materials such as Gyapak and local stones and Rs 25 lakh for others.
The spokesman said another highlight of the incentive scheme is the “Ladakh Tangible Cultural Heritage Conservation Fund“ and as per the policy, Ladakh has a rich collection of historic and heritage sites such as forts and old heritage buildings spread all across the districts of Leh and Kargil.
He said a committee constituted by the department would identify and make a list of such properties.
“The committee shall also certify the buildings as protected historic building and monuments,” the spokesperson said, adding only the listed sites would qualify for the work of restoration and conservation.
In case of the site being a private property, the ownership would be certified by the revenue department (tehsildar), he said.
The spokesperson said the project proposal with restoration plan and design would be provided by qualified experts to be empanelled or nominated by the Department of Tourism.
“All works of restoration or conservation would be carried out under the supervision of the Department of Tourism and Culture, Union Territory of Ladakh,” he said.
The spokesperson said the tourism incentive policy has a scheme to “Support for Adventure or Recreation Tourism” and a subsidy up to 20 per cent of the cost of various types of identified equipments.
“The subsidy up to 20 per cent of the cost of the equipments will be subject to a maximum of Rs 5 lakh as a one-time measure which would be available for establishment of equipment stores duly registered with the Tourism Department provided the said equipment is used for hiring out or providing service at the rates approved by the Tourism Department to the tourists interested in adventure sports,” the spokesperson said.
He said an investor interested in opening a shop for hiring out equipments related to adventure tourism, at the rates duly approved by the Tourism Director to the interested tourists will be eligible for subsidy on the equipments of standard specification required for such activities.
One of the other highlights of the incentive scheme is the “Training of Personnel in Tourism Industry” which has been introduced to assist entrepreneurs in upgrading the skills of the personnel engaged by them in running their tourism units and travel agencies registered by the Tourism Department, he said.
The training is to be conducted with the prior approval of the Director of Tourism, Ladakh and the expenditure on the training of managers and other executives shall be reimbursed to the extent of 50 per cent of the actual cost or Rs 50,000 whichever is less, he said, adding that reimbursement of the cost incurred on training, in all cases, would be payable after the successful completion of the training.
Regarding the implementing agency for disbursement of subsidy, the spokesperson said a committee headed by Commissioner Secretary Tourism, Ladakh would scrutinise the cases recommended by the Director of Tourism.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)