India looks to draft a new tourism policy that will provide proper response, investments and support at all levels – from village gram panchayats to governments, said the country’s tourism minister, G Kishan Reddy at the second edition of FICCI’s Travel, Tourism and Hospitality E-Conclav.
Tourism has emerged as one of the fundamental pillars of economic development and employment generation for the country. In 2019, the tourism sector contributed $194 billion dollars to the Indian economy and created about 40 million jobs – that is 12 per cent of total employment. Return on investment on tourism is higher than that of any other sector. For Rs 10 lakh of investment, tourism can provide 78 jobs, compared to 45 jobs in the manufacturing sector. This shows the immense potential of the sector to bring about socio-economic change in the nation.
Reddy said a draft strategy is in the works for the development of the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) tourism industry. The minister said there is a need to focus energies on not just reviving the sector but making this sector one of the drivers to revive the economy.
“Once we adopt the new policy, it will be helpful, particularly for the stakeholders. Through this policy, we will get proper response, investments, and support from village gram panchayats to governments.”
He pointed out that the central government was playing an important role in developing a strong visitor economy which is evident from the fact that the Ministry of Tourism has also undertaken a slew of initiatives, such as the Incredible India 2.0 campaign focusing on niche tourism products including wellness and adventure tourism.
It has also invested heavily into the tourism industry through schemes, such as PRASHAD and Swadesh Darshan along with extension of the e-visa to 169 countries, which has proven to be successful in increasing the number of foreign and domestic visitors in India.
On the draft strategy for the development of Mice tourism, Reddy said: “All stakeholders should come forward and share their opinion. They must also impress upon the state governments to give industry status to tourism as this will greatly help in developing the sector, particularly the infrastructure.”
“To achieve the true potential of tourism, the fundamental requirement is to ensure coordination at every level of the activity. We need to have a pro-active approach from every stakeholder including the industry, state government, and central government,” he added.