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URGES UPON THE STATE TOURISM DEPARTMENTS AND STAKE HOLDERS TO EXPLORE ALL POSSIBLE WAYS FOR POVERTY ALLEVIATION THROUGH TOURISM
January 16, 2010


URGES UPON THE STATE TOURISM DEPARTMENTS AND STAKE HOLDERS TO EXPLORE ALL POSSIBLE WAYS FOR POVERTY ALLEVIATION THROUGH TOURISM


http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=56976

16 January 2010


The Union Tourism Minister Kumari Selja has said that recently introduced ‘Visa on Arrival’ scheme for five countries namely Singapore, Finland, New Zealand, Luxemburg and Japan will give a tremendous boost to inbound tourism as it has sent positive signals to the source markets. She was speaking at the inauguration of the inter-state regional conference of Tourism Ministers of southern States/UT administrations . The Conference was convened by the Union Ministry of Tourism to discuss among other things, Rationalization of luxury tax, issues to facilitate seamless travel in Inter-State Circuits, Tourist security and safety, Broad basing of hospitality education and training and initiation for skills training in hospitality sector.

Kumari Selja said, it is heartening to note that in spite of several bottlenecks faced by the global Tourism industry and India the tourism arrivals into India is showing a growth trend. During Dec 2009 the Foreign Tourist arrivals in India saw an 21 % increase over the same period in 2008. She said, the future looks bright and we expect the buoyancy to return in the sector.

She said, tourism plays an important role in most developing as well as developed countries as the main-and sometimes the only- means of economic and social development on a sustainable basis, with meaningful linkages to other productive sectors, such as agriculture and handicrafts. Travel and tourism accounts for 11 per cent the world’s GDP, 8 per cent world’s employment. Indian tourism has been declared the fastest growing, at about 8 per cent, by leading tourism organisations including World Tourism Organisation and World Tourism and Travel Council.

The Minister said, tourism to her should be all inclusive and bring in visible change in the livelihood of local communities and elevate their economic status. This is what the “responsible tourism” model aims to achieve. She urged upon the state tourism Departments and stake holders to explore all possible ways for Poverty Alleviation through Tourism.

Kumari Selja said, the true potential of tourism lies in responsible practices on both the demand and supply sides of the tourism chain, enabling an effective response to climate change. This is closely interlinked with inclusive growth through sustainable community participation. She said, this ‘sustainable’ tourism route has been adopted by the Ministry of Tourism in the innovative Rural Tourism Project, by strengthening skilled rural artisan communities in association with United Nations Development Programme. We already have 153 Rural Sites selected under this initiative and the results have been encouraging.

Kumari Selja said, tourism is an important engine for economic growth and her Ministry has launched the “Hunar Se Rojgar” programme to create employable skills in hospitality sector under the Capacity Building Scheme. The programme started simultaneously across the country in Institutes of Hotel Management and Food craft institutes. She said, the Skill Development Programmes started under “Hunar Se Rojgar” will offer short but quality training courses covering Food & Beverage Service and Food Production. The programme has targeted the youth of weaker sections of societies who are interested in joining the hospitality industry and are in need to acquire skills facilitating employment . Linkages with the industry is also being forged so that the youths coming out of this training programs are gainfully employed.

The Minister said, the central government is providing assistance to States for agumenting Tourism Infrastructure and one of the major challenges being faced by our cities , tourism centers and villages is in the field of Solid Waste Management . She said, this is not only a desirable feature for the success of tourism but also essential for enhancing the quality of life of inhabitants in terms of sanitation and public health. Kumari Selja said, she has already asked her officials in the Ministry of Tourism to look at this component of Solid Waste Management while approving project proposals from State Governments. The Minister said, development of destination should not just end with the executing agencies handing our the completed project or structure. There should be a mechanism in place so that the destinations continue to grow in a sustainable way and assets created are managed /maintained professionally.

Kumari Selja said, this year, Ministry of Tourism has instituted a new award for ‘Best Civic Management of a Tourist Destination in India’. The objective of this award is to proactively involve the municipal authorities and getting their commitment towards eco-friendly, sustainable, clean hygienic and attractive surroundings in our cities, towns and villages. This would help in enhancing visitors’ experience in India, she added.

She said her ministry is trying to ensure convergence with the concerned Ministries such as Railways, Civil Aviation and Road Transport and Highways , Shipping and Urban Development at Central Level. The State & UT Governments have a major role in effecting convergence at the State and local level for providing connectivity, infrastructure , services and other facilities. Kumari Selja requested the States/UT’s to send the proposals to Union Govt. only after ensuring such convergence so that the investment could be more productive and not only a site but the whole destination is projected in the Tourism map.

Referring specifically to the Southern Region of the country, Kumari Selja said, the region has been well known for the “Wellness Tourism” and Wellness Tourism is now becoming an USP for India. She said, the ministry attaches great importance towards development and promotion of wellness Tourism. India, which was traditionally considered a cultural destination for several decades have now emerged as an important destination for wellness holidays for discerning international travelers.

The Minister said, security and safety of the tourists is of paramount importance for the growth of Tourism Sector. The inflow of the domestic and foreign tourists could be ensured only when we are able to provide them a safe and secured environment. The matter regarding constitution of Tourist Police Organization in States and Union Territories has been taken up from time to time. Accordingly, guidelines for raising Tourist Security Organization, comprising ex-servicemen for the safety and security of tourists have been formulated. She said, she is aware that several States have deployed Tourist Police at important tourist destinations in one form or the other but there needs to be a specialized agency to handle tourist safety. She urged the participants states in the conference to take all necessary steps for protection of tourists against crime and disaster situations.

She said, one of the biggest Marketing success has been the “ Incredible India” campaign. This campaign is now 8 years old and continues to be our mantra for attracting foreign visitors. The creatives used in the campaign have been very popular and won several accolades globally. The State governments have also been in successful in building sub brands but the sub brands can be leveraged effectively if used along with the Mother Brand “ Incredible India”. Kumari Selja urged upon the states to use this mother brand while marketing world wide for larger impact.

Minister of State for Tourism Shri Sultan Ahmed in his speech expressed happiness over the fact that the southern states have effectively utilized the central assistance given to them during past years. Karnataka Chief Minister Shri B.S. Yeddyurappa and Tourism Ministers from Southern States and UT Administrations attended the day long conference.