Mr. Vivek Nair elected as the new FHRAI President
New Delhi, September 28th, 2012 – After the 56th Annual General Meeting of the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), Mr. Vivek Nair, Vice-Chairman & Managing Director of Hotel Leelaventure Limited, has been elected as President for 2012-13. One of India's most accomplished and respected hoteliers, Mr. Nair had previously served as the FHRAI President in 2003-04. He has also been a Past President of the Hotel & Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) and the South India Hotels & Restaurants Association (SIHRA).
A post-graduate from the prestigious School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University, U.S.A, Mr. Vivek Nair along with his father, the legendary Padma Bhushan Capt. C.P Krishnan Nair, had promoted Hotel Leelaventure Limited, which owns, operates and manages several iconic and luxury hotels across the country. Over the years, Mr. Nair has been one of corporate India's most articulate and influential voices on the entire gamut of policy, governance and regulatory issues impacting the hospitality and tourism sector. His counsel and advise is frequently sought by central and state government agencies, domestic and international trade and industry confederations as well as institutions in the educational and nonprofit sectors. He is a member of the Central Governing Council of the Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC) and a nominee of the Government of Kerala on the board of the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC). He also serves on the boards of well known listed companies such as the Tourism Finance Corporation of India (TFCI) and VIP Industries. He was the Chairperson of the World Travel and Tourism Council, India Initiative (WTTCII) for the year 2011.
On being elected as President, Mr. Vivek Nair said, “ I am overwhelmed by the faith and confidence which my colleagues in the fraternity have reposed in me. I regard this opportunity to once again lead a venerable organisation such as FHRAI, particularly at this pivotal and exciting phase for our industry, as both a distinct privilege and a profound responsibility. My team and I are deeply committed to assiduously working towards ensuring that FHRAI continues to grow from strength to strength and consistently deliver on the high expectations of all our stakeholders.”
Addressing the media, the new FHRAI President highlighted the tourism sector's vast intrinsic potential to act as a catalyst for generating large-scale employment and promote equitable and inclusive economic growth. As per the report of the Planning Commission's Working Group on Tourism, the sector will directly support about 63.79 lakh jobs by 2016-17. WTTC estimates that the Travel, Tourism & Hospitality sector will contribute 6.5% of India's total GDP in 2012. Mr. Nair pointed out that the Indian hotel industry is poised to commit a capital investment of Rupees 1,27,600 crores to bridge the projected shortfall of over 1,80,000 rooms in the country over the next decade. He urged the government to facilitate a progressive and conducive policy framework for enabling the industry to viably undertake this massive additional investment. This includes granting 'infrastructure' status to the sector as a whole, by removing the restrictive stipulation presently prescribed in the Harmonized List of Infrastructure Sub-sectors. He also requested all state governments to accord the sector 'industry' status, so that hotels become entitled to avail industrial rates on inputs such as power, water etc, instead of paying commercial tariff. Mr. Nair further suggested that each state must constitute an empowered Hospitality Development Promotion Board (HDPB) under the Chairmanship of their Chief Secretaries, to serve as an effective single window mechanism and fast-track projects. In view of the acute scarcity and exorbitant price of land in metro cities, he asked for a liberalization of FSI/FAR norms and informed about FHRAI's detailed submission in this regard to the Ministry of Urban Development during consultations for DDA's MPD-2021. Mr. Nair explained that it is imperative to rationalize the industry's complex multiple taxation structure, which has the cumulative negative impact of putting our country at a distinct competitive disadvantage as an international tourist destination vis-a-vis our South-east Asian peers. Hotels and Restaurants should be included in the negative list for service tax and a uniform rate of luxury tax introduced, applicable only on actual and not published tariff. The FHRAI President said that we need to diversify our tourism product portfolio, in order to successfully attract more tourists from newer geographies. This would be vital for us to achieve the Ministry of Tourism's ambitious target of increasing India's share in the global tourism market to at least 1% within the 12th Plan Period. He illustrated this view by calling for a relaxation in CRZ norms which are inhibiting the growth of beach-front hotels and resorts and constraining our ability to leverage the full potential of coastal tourism. We also need concerted efforts by the industry and government to tap the lucrative MICE segment. Mr. Nair opined that a greater emphasis must be laid on forging innovative Public-Private Partnerships to address a wide range of complex challenges confronting the sector, particularly capacity-building for skill development and alleviating infrastructure bottlenecks. The FHRAI President expressed gratitude to the Hon'ble Prime Minister for having constituted an Inter-Ministerial Coordination Committee on Tourism under the stewardship of his Principal Secretary Mr. Pulok Chaterji. FHRAI believes that this high-powered panel will play a key role in promoting greater synergy and convergence among various government departments and agencies on all tourism related policy matters. The President also complimented the Ministry of Tourism for launching several laudable and visionary initiatives such as the Hunar Se Rozgar Yojna, Clean India Campaign and theCode for Safe & Honourable Tourism, and on behalf of FHRAI, reaffirmed our strong commitment and support for these programs.
At the first meeting of the new FHRAI Executive Committee held at New Delhi, the following Office-Bearer's for the year 2012-13, were also elected-
- Honorary Secretary – Mr. Vijai Pande
- Vice-President - Mr. D.S. Advani
- Vice-President - Mr. Garish Oberoi
- Honorary Treasurer – Mr. S.M. Shervani
- Joint Honorary Secretary – Mr. Bharat H. Malkani
- Joint Honorary Secretary – Mr. Jose Dominic
The Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India, often known by the acronym, FHRAI, is the apex body of the four Regional Associations representing the Hospitality Industry. FHRAI provides a vibrant interface between the Hospitality Industry, Political Leadership, Academia, International Associations, Media and other stakeholders. Founded in 1955 by the legendary late Rai Bahadur MS Oberoi, the association has steadfastly built on its rich legacy and is today privileged to serve more than 3700 members, including hotels, restaurants and associates, spanning the length and breadth of our vast country.