The Union Ministry of Tourism held a meeting for formulating the New National Tourism Policy, 2015 with the representatives of Tourism departments of State Governments and Union Territories as a part of the consultation process with the stakeholders in New Delhi today. Addressing the representatives, the Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that the New Tourism Policy should become the instrument for substantially increasing India’s share in global tourism beyond the current share of 0.64 percent. The new Tourism Policy should help to boost the growth of Tourism so that its contribution to the GDP of the economy also goes up from the present 6.8 percent, he added.
Dr Mahesh Sharma said that the tourism potential of the country is yet unexploited and we must promote the rich cultural heritage of the country through the medium of tourism. The Minister explained that the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has been promoting Brand India at all platforms of the world and it is due to his efforts that the practice of Yoga got recognition throughout the world. We should take up such similar initiatives, he added.
The Tourism policy should be framed with the participation of all stake holders to ensure everyone delivers with responsibility, the Minister said. The Tourism Policy should contribute to economy, promote cultural heritage, generate employment, should be pro-poor and also include women empowerment, the Minister explained.
The representatives of State and UTs also put forward their suggestions and expressed their concerns related to their regions.
They demanded tax incentives across the tourism related products and services, connectivity for remote areas, single window clearance and equitable treatment for the less developed regions of India.
A demand was also raised for National Calendar of festivals throughout India and a request was made to the Ministry of Tourism to promote the local traditions of particular regions. Other issues related to tourist policies, preservation of water bodies and skill development were also discussed during the meeting.
The representatives of North-Eastern states stressed the need for connectivity, mobile network connectivity, roadside amenities, lifting of travel restrictions for foreigners , skill development among others.
Secretary Tourism, Dr. Lalit Panwar, Joint Secretary Tourism, Mr. Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Tourism, Ms. Usha Sharma and other senior officials were also present in the meeting.
This is the second major meeting which follows the previous meeting with tour operators and travel agencies among others held last month.