Union Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanam on Thursday said 14 out of 16 loss-making hotels owned by state-run ITDC will be sold off to private parties as running money-making hotel business is not a government job.
The minister, however, said that he wished to retain the prestigious Ashoka Hotel in New Delhi under government control and make it a "very good" international hotel in the national capital.
"It has been decided to sell off 14 hotels owned by ITDC as running money-making businesses like hotels are not good for a government. The decision to sell off the hotels was taken much earlier."
"One or two hotels will be retained under government control...I have a wish...To retain Ashoka hotel in New Delhi under government control and make it a very good international hotel," the minister told a meet-the-press programme organised by the Ernakulam Press Club here.
India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) is a public sector undertaking that currently runs 16 hotels in Delhi, Patna, Jammu, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Puri, Bhopal, Bharatpur, Jaipur, Guwahati, Mysore, Puducherry and Itanagar.
Kannanthanam also said steps would be taken to open high-end restaurants and provide better amenities at important tourist attractions like Qutub Minar as it was necessary to attract more foreign tourists to the country.
"We will light up the areas around Qutub Minar... We will start high-end restaurants at such tourism destinations without damaging the environment," he said.
Noting that better amenities were being provided at international tourism destinations likeEiffel Tower and Louvre in France, the minister said such facilities should be provided at tourist spots in India too so that more tourists could be attracted there.
Lamenting that only 8.8 million foreign tourists visit India annually which is a very ancient civilisation, the minister said India's rich cultural heritage has to be showcased in a better way to attract more tourists and generate more revenue from the sector.
He said India is a fantastic place to visit as it is also "beyond incredible".