India to host Global Tourism Mart

September 8th, 2011 - 6:59 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 8 (IANS) Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay Thursday announced a global travel and tourism mart in the country by February to push the booming travel trade segment and project India as a convention centre for tourism-related business.

“The global Travel Mart sponsored by the ministry of tourism will be held latest by February 2012 either in Delhi or Hyderabad which have convention facilities,” Sahay said at a press conference at the ongoing PATA Travel Mart 2011 being held here from Sep 6-9.

It will be modelled on the PATA (Pacific-Asia Travel Association) Travel Mart but will draw participation from around the world.

“We want just 0.5 (half) percent of the global tourists - which is nearly five to six millions - in our kitty. Nearly 80 million people are moving (as tourists) around the world,” the minister said.

One of the biggest tourism events in the pipeline is a mega Buddhist conclave with representatives from 40 countries in January, he said.

Besides inbound tourism, India is also a lucrative outbound tourism market. “We want to re-organise our foreign office in various parts of the globe,” Sahay said.

Citing figures, he said: “India’s growth forecast was around 9 percent and domestic tourism was going 12.5 percent annually.

“In the last 10 months, tourism has grown by 10 percent and we are determined to fight the factors that try to hinder its growth.”

The minister said to facilitate inbound tourism and niche segments, India had introduced tourist visa on arrival scheme in 2010 for visitors from 11 countries and several more nations were under consideration.

He said India was going to host its first Formula One race on a brand new track in Greater Noida near Delhi in October.

Unveiling the list of new projects, Sahay said: “The country is in the process of setting up tourism parks like the ones in Thailand so that tourists can avail all amenities under one roof.”

He said: “The tourism ministry is keen to promote integrated religious tourism events and circuits.” The states have been told to create land banks for the purpose and “build tourism infrastructure on a private-public partnership”.

The ministry has also offered the state to identify land for airstrips for short haul flights which will be funded by the government.

“Tourism may be one of the biggest employment generating sectors but convincing the states to build more infrastructure is a very delicate political exercise,” Sahay said.

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