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India To Head United Nationís South Asian Regional Commission For Tourism
October 11, 2011
India To Head United Nation’s South Asian Regional Commission For Tourism


11 October 2011

India has been selected to head the United Nations South Asian Regional Commission for Tourism for the next four years. This decision was taken at the 19th United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly meeting held recently held at Gyeongju, South Korea. A high level delegation from India, led by Subodh Kant Sahai, Union Minister for Tourism, attended the UNWTO General Assembly meeting.

Welcoming the decision, Sahai, while addressing the member countries at the General Assembly meeting said, “The appointment of India as Chairman of the United Nations South Asian Regional Commission for Tourism signifies the confidence of various countries in India and the efforts of the Indian government in promotion of tourism in the country, as well as across the globe in a responsible and sustainable manner to bring in inclusive growth. Sustainable, Safe and Honourable tourism are the pillars of India’s strategy and the schemes and programmes implemented by the Government of India are primarily focused on inclusive development, integrated with the overall anti-poverty strategy.” India succeeds Iran as the Chairman of the South Asian Regional Commission for Tourism of UNWTO.

Sahai added, “It has been estimated that by 2016-17, the growth in the tourism sector will enable additional employment for around 25 million people. There will be a requirement for an additional 42 million skilled people in the hospitality sector alone. We are therefore giving a major boost to skill development by harnessing both the public and private sector educational and training infrastructure in the country. We are also encouraging our academic institutes to go in for MoUs with reputed counterparts of other countries for achieving academic excellence. I urge UNWTO to intensify its efforts in providing support to member countries for developing a skill development framework based on successful best practices across the globe. India mandates promotion of tourism in the country in a responsible and sustainable manner and the Centre is in process of establishing a Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India (STCI) and indicators for the accommodation sector and tour operators.”

The travel industry in India has welcomed the decision to appoint India at the helm of tourism in the region. Reacting to this development, Arjun Sharma, Managing Director, Le Passage to India and Senior Vice President, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) said, that “it is a prestigious” moment for the country as a whole and the tourism industry in particular. However, he pointed out that beyond such ceremonial positions, India should try to become a “power house” in terms of policy decisions in global tourism. Rajiv Kohli, Joint Managing Director, Creative Travel, and Vice Chairman, India Convention & Promotion Board (ICPB) also welcomed the decision and stated that this is recognition of India’s long history and culture and would help in the promotion of India as a travel destination in the long run.