India to promote domestic tourism with roadshows, campaigns

September 12th, 2009 - 8:32 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 12 (IANS) India is planning to aggressively promote domestic tourism with a series of roadshows and campaigns, with special focus on the northeastern region.
Apart from launching an “Incredible India” campaign to target domestic tourists, the tourism ministry will also organise various roadshows in collaboration with the private sector, according to a statement issued here to list the achievements of the ministry in the last 100 days.

There were about 526.56 million domestic tourists in 2007 as compared to an estimated 562.92 million last year, according to the ministry.

India received an estimated 5.37 million foreign tourists last year. The number is far lower than a small country like Singapore, which received an estimated 10.1 million tourists in 2008.

Highlighting its achievements, the ministry said it had come out with guidelines to promote niche tourism like caravan and heliport tourism to provide an “exciting” new face to the industry that has suffered from the effects of the global recession.

Tourism Minister Kumari Selja announced the guidelines that includes financial packages for states that intend to develop such projects.

While caravan tourism involves the use of a specially equipped vehicle deployed on a tourist circuit, helipad tourism is aimed at promoting tourism in hilly and remote areas by making helipads at select destinations.

The concept of caravan tourism will be popularised and promoted by developing caravan parks. This will be done through the public private partnership route.

The ministry will approve these parks only after states provide facilities like parking bays, tourist amenities centre, toilets and adequate safety measures.

According to the guidelines, the caravan parks will have electricity, water and sewage disposal facilities for the caravans which are parked.

Also, these parks should take environment friendly steps.

For this, the ministry will provide central assistance of up to Rs.5 crore per destination to state governments.

The ministry added that it would extend financial assistance of up to Rs.75 lakh to state governments for construction of heliports.

The guidelines specify that the projects for construction of heliports will have to conform to the technical requirements laid down by the Director General of Civil Aviation.

Already, the ministry has approved two projects in Sikkim - Mangan and Geetang Khola.

Apart from providing central financial assistance for the heliport, the government will also give aid for developing the area as a tourist hub.

For development of Mangan Tourist Axis in north Sikkim, the tourism ministry will provide Rs.3.03 crore and for Geetang Khola waterfall in West Sikkim Rs.3.02 crore will be sanctioned, officials said.

As India is known for its wellness tourism, especially because of its traditional systems of medicine — ayurveda, yoga, Unani and Siddha — the ministry plans to promote this key area too.

For this, it has revised its earlier guidelines of marketing development assistance (MDA).

Under this scheme, the wellness centres accredited by states, and travel agents and tour operators will be qualified for financial assistance to participate in wellness tourism fairs abroad.

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