`Vision document on tourism soon,’ says Tourism Secretary

November 14th, 2007 - 1:55 am ICT by admin  
Describing the country’s tourism industry as being at a very buoyant stage, Banerjee said attributed this to the government’s marketing initiatives to promote India abroad in such a way as to capture the imagination of the foreign traveller.

This could be gleaned from the fact that India is among the top five destinations of the world, according to Conde Naste magazine, he said, adding that India has also emerged as a preferred MICE destination.

Banerjee was speaking after the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) released four Core Group Reports on Heritage Tourism - Taking the Legacy Forward; Responsible and Eco-Tourism - Emerging Trends; Infrastructure - Matching Tourism Growth and Skill Development In The Tourism Sector

Though the foreign tourist arrival has recorded a double-digit growth, domestic travel is the backbone of Indian tourism industry, with 460 million Indians traveling in 2006, he said.

To harness the sector’s growth, he called for greater private-public sector synergy to meet infrastructural challenges. He urged the states to carry forward the Union Government’s Bread and Breakfast Scheme, launched to meet the severe hotel room shortage in the country.

In her address, Priya Paul, Chairperson, CII National Committee on Tourism and Chairperson, Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels Ltd, said the Indian tourism was on the upswing.

She said that the industry’s growth could be gauged from the fact that the forex earnings from tourism has shown a phenomenal growth of 14.6 percent in one year –from 5.73 billion dollars in 2005 to 6.56 billion dollars in 2006.

She said CII’s National Committee on Tourism has identified Eco and Sustainable Tourism, Heritage and Culture, Tourism Infrastructure and Skills Development as four key issues that needs to addressed.

Paul said the CII Core Group has come up with a 13-point agenda for all the stakeholders in the tourism industry. The agenda includes: change in urban planning laws such as FSI norms and mixed land use criteria to create tourism zones, evolve public-private partnerships to develop tourism facilities, design, develop and establish exemplary PPP projects, constitute a National Eco-tourism Committee, reasonable pay packages, form a central nodal institution to set occupational standards for the industry and set up institutes to develop skills and tourism education. The agenda for CII included setting up of special PPP Fund for tourism, help create an India Heritage Tourism Funds to seed funding projects and set up a Creative India Heritage Tourism Award, jointly with Unesco.

Ashwani Lohani, Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation made a presentation on the initiatives taken by MPTDC to promote destinations in the state.

Besides providing better roads, incentives for private air operators and strengthening airport infrastructure, Lohani said the state has drastically rationalized its taxes. He said many of the state’s initiatives have received ISO 14001 certification. E-ticketing, tourist information on mobile phones are some of the IT initiatives taken by the state, Lohani said.

Prem Subramanian, Conference Chairman and Director, Uttaranchal Infrastructure Development Company and Principal, IDFC, said India should harness its IT skills to provide world class tourism facilities. He said the country was unable to effectively convert its rich legacies into business opportunities, as the stateholders are not engaged in the activities.

He said most PPPs don’t succeed because partnership is misconstrued as patronage. There is no sharing of set skills and know-how on projects. He urged the states to do pre-feasibility reports before getting into PPPs. (ANI)

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