Tourism key for India's recovery and forex: Shripad Yesso Naik
Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture Shripad Yesso Naik said Monday in an interactive session on ‘Tourism and Culture of India-The Road Ahead’ here.
He added that the key initiatives undertaken by his Ministry included infrastructure development, publicity, promotion and marketing, skill development, simplification of procedures for the classification/reclassification of hotel and restaurants, development of niche tourism products, use of technology for service delivery and market research.
He appreciated the continuous growth in foreign tourist arrival (FTA) in India and disclosed the fact that in September 2014, the growth is 9.2 per cent in foreign tourist arrival and 18.2 per cent in foreign exchange earnings.
During January-August, 2014, the FTA were 46.84 lakh with a growth of 7.4 per cent as compared to the FTAs of 43.60 lah with a growth of 4.9 per cent during January-August, 2013 over the corresponding period of 2012.
There has been a growth of 16.9 per cent in August 2014 over August 2013 as compared to a growth of 9.1 per cent registered in August 2013 over August 2012. Foreign exchange earnings from tourism in terms of US dollar during January-August, 2014 too were US dollar 12.739 billion with a growth of 4.6 per cent as compared to US dollar 12.178 billion during January-August, 2013 over the corresponding period of 2012.
The Minister indicated that the system of e-visa will be introduced soon, might be within two months.
Naik even mentioned that in the budget for 2014-15, two new schemes have been proposed with the allocation of Rs. 500 crore for developing five tourist circuits around specific themes and Rs. 100 crore for National Mission on Pilgrimmage Rejuvenations and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD). According to him, strategies have been finalized for integrated development of core Buddhist circuits.
The minister said that Ministry of Tourism is setting up an ‘Indian Cullinery Institute’ at Tirupati as a non-profit Central Autonomous Society which will be addressing the concerns relating the preservation of heritage Indian cuisine, research, documentation, museum and resource centre and specialized training in culinary skills. This will enhance employment generation.
Naik even spoke about the ‘Hunar se Rozgar’ scheme for promoting faster, sustainable and more inclusive economic growth. The programme aims at creation of employable skills amongst the youth.
So far as West Bengal is concerned, the Minister said, this cultural capital of India can contribute in a significant way to the growth of tourism, provided definite and concrete proposal from the State reaches him. He assured that the Union Ministry of Tourism would support West Bengal in its mission to become a perfect tourist destination if such proposal comes to him.