Tourism in India yet to realise full potential: SeljaJanuary 29th, 2010 - 8:17 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 29 (IANS) Tourism in India has yet to realise its full potential and it is not the government’s responsibility alone to project India as a tourist-friendly nation, Union Tourism Minister Kumari Selja said Friday.
Flagging off the 17th edition of SATTE: New Delhi, one of the country’s biggest tourism and travel trade fair at the Pragati Maidan, she said: “Events like SATTE help promote the country’s tourism potential. The three main agenda that I have set for promotion of tourism this year are developing infrastructure - both for inbound and outbound tourism, creation of more employment in the tourism sector, and projecting India as a tourist-friendly nation.”
Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit were also present at the inauguration with a host of delegates from various Indian states, 19 countries, 19 international hotel chains and 112 independent hotel chains.
In his address, Patel said: “India’s tourism needs to grow at a faster pace and air connectivity should increase”.
Since 2004, the number of airports in the country has doubled from 44 to 88. “But smaller tourist towns in states like Rajasthan are yet to be linked by air services. But we are making a start with Delhi becoming a world class civil aviation hub - along with Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai,” Patel said.
He said the government had taken up several greenfield projects to develop smaller airports.
The 2010 edition of SATTE (South Asia Travel & Tourism Exchange) is the first co-branded event with ITB-Berlin as its co-sponsor. The guest country is Turkey this year.
According to Navin S. Berry, chief coordinator of SATTE, the event this year features over 445 seller organisations - 30 per cent more than last year. “This year we have hosted more than 185 buyers,” Berry said.
Tourism is one of the largest service industry in India with an approximate contribution of 6.23 per cent to the national GDP and 8.78 per cent of the total employment in India with five million foreign tourist arrivals and 562 million domestic tourists on the major circuits.
In 2008, the tourism industry generated nearly US $100 billion which is expected to increase to US $275.5 billion by 2018 at a growth rate of 9.4 per cent, say projections by both government and independent sources.
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