The reason is that MTDC has invited private hotels to operate its tourist resorts at the selected 20 locations, and is allowing them to charge two per cent extra luxury tax on room tariff and on extra guest charges.
Some of the areas where 17 per cent luxury tax is being charged are Koyna Nagar, Panchgani, Panhala and Amboli. Customers are now complaining that the luxury tax being charged for MTDC resorts is equivalent to a day’s tariff for a long stay. Presently, MTDC is charging 15 per cent luxury tax on gross bill per day, which includes room tariff and extra-guest charges.
“I was astonished to hear that I have to pay 17 per cent luxury tax each day for my stay,” said Megha Pilane, who is planning to go to Koyna Nagar at the end of the month with 10 members of her family. “We have been staying at the MTDC resort since many years as it was affordable. Now I have to rethink about staying in a MTDC resort.”
She said the booking officer at MTDC informed her about the increased tax only after she had made bookings. Another tourist, Mohan Shivarkar, was annoyed when informed by the MTDC to pay 10 per cent extra charges for postponing bookings at a resort in Ganpati Pule.
“I booked the room at MTDC resort for Ganpati Pule two months ago though it’s much costlier than private hotels. I wished to postpone my stay due to a personal problem, but the booking officer in the MTDC office told me to pay 10 per cent extra charges, besides the heavy luxury tax on the original tariff of the room,” said Shivarkar.
Booking officer at MTDC office Shrikant Waghmare said earlier the service tax was 10 per cent, but was increased to 15 per cent. He added that as some resorts had been given to private operators on lease, they had increased the taxes. “We tell tourists about increased taxes well in advance,” said Waghmare.