Working on new tourism policy to improve global ranking: Govt

“Our leadership is focused on developing the (tourism) sector. We have sent tourism policy to state governments. It has been one month. The policy will enable us to reach the target (of higher ranking) set by the country,” Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel said.

Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel on Friday announced in Rajya Sabha that the government is working on a new tourism policy to help India improve its global ranking in the sector.

Replying to a discussion on the Ministry of Tourism, Patel said, “Our leadership is focused on developing the (tourism) sector. We have sent tourism policy to state governments. It has been one month. The policy will enable us to reach the target (of higher ranking) set by the country.”

The draft policy lays down the groundwork required for facilities around popular tourist spots and developing new destinations other than popular ones such as the Taj Mahal.

“Our journey was to take the country to the first position but then this pandemic happened… The target which we have set for ourselves, we will achieve that in 2024. There are challenges but we will achieve our goal,” he said. He informed the House that India was at the 65th position in 2014 and it reached 34th in five years.

Earlier, TRS MP K R Suresh Reddy began the discussion by criticising the Budget for not making enough allocation to help the tourism industry. “Instead of selling PSUs, LIC why doesn’t the government sell India…Indian tourism,” Reddy said.

BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh Shiv Pratap Shukla defended the budget allocation and praised the government’s efforts in handling the pandemic. The MP also praised the efforts of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in developing Ayodhya as a prominent tourist destination in the country.

Congress MP from Karnataka, G C Chandrashekar suggested that the government must bring in a single window clearance for charter flights to encourage tourism.

BJD MP Sujeet Kumar pointed out that the budget allocation of Rs 2027 crore for tourism is a 19 per cent reduction compared to the allocation made in the previous financial year. “This is a substantial deduction in this Covid year,” he said.

Kumar also pointed out that out of 46 sector routes identified under the UDAN scheme, only 21 were operationalised as of February.

BJP MP from Karnataka, K C Ramamurthy said that the tourism industry has reached new heights since the BJP had come to power six years ago. He stated that India had climbed up 31 spots to 34 position from 65th in 2013 on the World Tourism Index.

DMK MP T K S Elangovan highlighted the issue of safety of tourists, especially female foreign travellers. He also said that nobody must find a reason to demolish any ancient monument. “We have had people from many castes, religions rule this country. Every kingdom, language has had its own cultural value and it is depicted in the buildings and structures from that age. Everything must be preserved,” he said.

YSRCP MP Ayodhya Rami Reddy suggested that the government make policy interventions to increase credit line for tourism related businesses, extend moratoriums and issue new loans to revive the industry.

— With PTI inputs

Source: Read Full Article