The Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India is responsible for the formulation of national policies and programmes for the tourism sector and for co-ordination of activities of various Central Government Agencies, State Governments/UTs and the Private Sector for the development and promotion of tourism in the country. This Ministry is headed by the Union Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge). The administrative head of the Ministry is the Secretary (Tourism) who is also the Director General (DG) Tourism. The Ministry has a field formation of 20 offices within the country and 14 offices abroad and one sub-ordinate office/project i.e. Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering (IISM)/Gulmarg Winter Sports Project. The overseas offices are primarily responsible for tourism promotion and marketing in their respective areas and the field offices in India are responsible for providing information service to tourists and to monitor the progress of field projects. The Ministry of Tourism has under its charge a Public Sector Undertaking, the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) and the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM) and the National Institute of Water Sports (NIWS) ; and the National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology (NCHMCT) and the Institutes of Hotel Management and the Indian Culinary Institute at Tirupati.
FOREIGN TOURIST ARRIVALS: FTAs during the period January-November, 2016 were 78.53 lakh with a growth of 10.4% as compared to the FTAs of 71.14 lakh with a growth of 4.7% in January- November, 2015 over January- November, 2014.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE EARNINGS: Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism in rupee terms during January-November, 2016 were Rs. 1,38,845 crore with a growth of 14.7% as compared to the FEE of Rs.1,21,041 crore with a growth of 9.7% during January-November, 2015 over January-November, 2014.
E-TOURIST VISA: During January to November 2016, a total of 9,17,446 tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 3,41,683 during January to November 2015, registering a growth of 168.5% .
LAUNCH OF INCREDIBLE INDIA HELPLINE: The Ministry of Tourism has launched the 24×7 Toll Free Multi-Lingual Tourist Helpline in 12 International Languages including Hindi & English on 8.2.2016. This service is available on the toll free number 1800111363 or on a short code 1363 and operational 24×7 (all days) in a year offering a “multi-lingual helpdesk” in the designated languages to provide support service in terms of providing information relating to Travel & Tourism in India to the domestic and International tourists and to assist the callers with advice on action to be taken during times of distress while travelling in India and if need be alert the concerned authorities. The languages handled by the Tourist Helpline include ten International languages besides English and Hindi, namely, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. The calls made by tourists (both international and domestic) while in India will be free of charge.
SWACHH PARYATAN APP: The Ministry of Tourism has launched a Mobile App ‘Swachh Paryatan’. To start with, 25 Adarsh Smarak Monuments protected by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have been identified for inclusion in the app. The application would be scaled up to include more monuments as the campaign expands. The general public can lodge their complaints about any unclean area/garbage piles, if any, in and around identified ASI monuments by uploading the same along with remarks. The application then sends an SMS to the ASI Nodal Officer concerned with the monument on receipt of which, the Nodal Officer gets the garbage cleared/removed. The Nodal Officer thereafter sends confirmation regarding the redressal of the complaint through an SMS to the complainant.
ACCOLADES FOR INDIA TOURISM: At ITB 2016 held in Berlin in March, 2016, the Indian Pavilion set up by the Ministry of Tourism won the 3rd place for the Best Tourist Board.
WORLD TRAVEL MARKET (WTM)-2016: Ministry of Tourism, Government of India participated as Official Premier Partner under the theme – ‘India – The Land of Eternal Heritage’ at WTM held in London from 7th to 9th November, 2016. Minister of State for Tourism and Culture (Independent charge) led the Indian delegation comprising of team of officers from Ministry of Tourism led by Secretary (Tourism), Chief Ministers, State Tourism Ministers, representatives from ITDC, IRCTC, Air India, tour operators, resort owners and hoteliers for participation in the WTM, 2016. India participated with 42 co-exhibitors in the India Pavilion comprising State Governments/Union Territory Administrations, tourism stakeholders etc.
SWADESH DARSHAN FOR INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT OF THEME BASED CIRCUITS: In pursuance of the Budget announcements of 2014-15, Swadesh Darshan Scheme was launched for integrated development of tourist destinations/circuits. Thirteen Circuits have been identified for development under the scheme. The Circuits are: – North-East India Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit and Heritage Circuit. In 2016-17 a total of 29 projects were sanctioned for an amount of Rs.2497.29 Crore. With this as on date a total of 49 projects have been sanctioned under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme for an amount of Rs.4162.99 Crore.
NATIONAL MISSION ON PILGRIMAGE REJUVENATION AND SPIRITUAL AUGMENTATION DRIVE (PRASAD): The scheme aims at integrated development of pilgrimage destinations to provide complete religious and spiritual tourism experience. 25 sites have been identified for implementation – Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh), Amritsar (Punjab), Ajmer (Rajasthan), Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh), Dwarka (Gujarat), Deoghar (Jharkhand), Belur (West Bengal), Gaya (Bihar) , Guruvayoor (Kerala), Hazratbal (Jammu & Kashmir), Kamakhya (Assam), Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu), Kedarnath (Uttarakhand), Mathura (Uttar Pradesh), Patna (Bihar), Puri (Odisha), Srisailam (Andhra Pradesh), Somnath (Gujarat), Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh), Trimbakeshwar (Maharashtra), Omkareshwar(Madhya Pradesh), Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Vellankani (Tamil Nadu), Katra (Jammu & Kashmir) and Badrinath Uttarakhand). In 2016-17 a total of 3 projects were sanctioned for an amount of Rs.48.31 Crore. With this as on date a total of 14 projects have been sanctioned under the PRASAD Scheme for an amount of Rs.332.82 Crore.
INCREDIBLE INDIA TOURISM INVESTORS SUMMIT (IITIS)-2016: Ministry of Tourism organized 3- day long “Incredible India Tourism Investor’s Summit (IITIS)-2016” in association with Tourism Finance Corporation of India (TFCI) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) from 21st to 23rd September, 2016 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The main objective of the Summit was to help promotion of investment in tourism sector in order to boost tourism in India at international level. Over 1800 delegates from – Private sector Project Owners; Banks and Financial Institutions; Business Developers; Cruise Liners; Domestic Investors; Entertainment Companies; Indian States/UTs; Global Investors; Helicopter Services; Hoteliers; Infrastructure Developers; International Associations; Restaurateur; Spa and Yaga Centres; Tour and Travel Operators; Urban Developers and Venture Capitalists participated in the Summit. States like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, and Chhattisgarh exchanged 86 MoUs during the session and many more are in the pipeline, aggregating close to Rs 15,000 Crores investment in tourism sector.
5TH INTERNATIONAL BUDDHIST CONCLAVE – 2016: Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, in collaboration with the State Government of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar organized the 05th International Buddhist Conclave – 2016 in Delhi, Varanasi, Sarnath and Bodhgaya from 02nd to 06th October, 2016. The overall theme for the 05th International Buddhist Conclave was ‘India, the Land of Buddha’. More than 250 delegates from around 39 countries, consisting of Tour Operators, Travel Agents, Journalists, Travel Writers, Bloggers, Buddhist Scholars, Monks and Opinion Makers attended the Conclave. The State Govt’s of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana offered Post Conclave familiarization tours to showcase and promote their Buddhist sights to the International delegates attending the Conclave.
5TH INTERNATIONAL TOURISM MART-2016: The Ministry of Tourism organized the “5th International Tourism Mart-2016” at Imphal, Manipur from 23rd to 25th November, 2016 in association with the North Eastern States and West Bengal. Buyer and Media delegates from around the world and from different regions of the country participated in the Mart and engaged in one-to-one meetings with sellers from the North East Region. The Mart provided the opportunity to the tourism product suppliers from the region to reach out to international and domestic buyers, with the objective of promoting tourism in the region.
CELEBRATION OF BHARAT PARV:
- The Ministry of Tourism organized the “Bharat Parv” event at the Red Fort, Delhi from 26th to 31st January, 2016, as part of the Republic Day Celebrations. The event included a display of Republic Day Parade tableaux, performances by the Armed Forces Bands (static and moving), Food Festival, Crafts Mela and Cultural Performances from different regions of the country. The Cultural Performances included choreographed Folk/Tribal Dances and Music arranged by the Ministry of Culture through its Zonal Cultural Centres as well as performances by cultural troupes from the different States of the country. At the Food Festival, stalls were set up by the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) showcasing street food from different States/UTs as well as by State Governments and the Institutes of Hotel Management. The Crafts Mela showcased the handicrafts and handlooms of the country, arranged by the Ministry of Textiles through the Offices of the Development Commissioners of Handlooms and Handicrafts as well as State Governments.
- Ministry of Tourism organized a week-long “Bharat Parv” festival at Rajpath Lawns, India Gate, New Delhi as part of the Independence Day-2016. The event was held from 12th to 18th August, 2016 with free entry for general public. The event showcased diverse culture, cuisines and handicrafts of the nation.
NATIONAL TOURISM AWARDS 2014-2015: Ministry of Tourism organized a function at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on 30th July, 2016 for awarding the National Tourism Awards to winners for the year 2014-15. Smt. Sumitra Mahajan, Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha graced the occasion as Chief Guest and gave away a total of 74 awards to various segments of travel tourism & hospitality sectors, leading hoteliers and the representatives from the State Governments/UT Administrations.
MOUs/AGREEMENTS SIGNED IN THE FIELD OF TOURISM COOPERATION:
- The Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Republic of Maldives signed a MoU for strengthening cooperation in the field of tourism on 10th April, 2016 during the visit of Hon’ble President of Maldives to India.
- The Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the State of Qatar signed a MoU for strengthening cooperation in the field of tourism on 5th June, 2016 during the visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India to Qatar.
- The Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Republic of South Africa signed a MoU for strengthening cooperation in the field of tourism on 8th July, 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa 2016 during the visit of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India visit to South Africa.
- The Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic signed a MoU for strengthening cooperation in the field of tourism on 20thDecember, 2016 in New Delhi during the Hon’ble President of the Kyrgyz Republic visit to India.
JOINT WORKING GROUP MEETINGS:
- The 1st India – Cambodia Joint Working Group Meeting on Tourism Cooperation was held in New Delhi on 28th April 2016. Both sides exchanged views for establishing a mechanism to encourage exchange of information and data related to tourism resources and tourist arrivals to understand the dynamics of the tourism sector in each other’s country, as well as the requirements and expectations of overseas travellers from both countries.
- The 2nd India – Sri Lanka Joint Working Group Meeting took place in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 23rd June 2016. Both sides exchanged views on possibilities of technical and professional cooperation which could be further explored for exchange of experience in the areas of promotion, marketing, Human Resource Development in the tourism field and also discussed promotion of Ramayana Trail and Buddhist Circuit for strengthening tourism in both countries.
- The Ministry of Tourism participated in the 1st India-Japan Joint working Group/India-Japan Tourism Working on 25th October, 2016 at New Delhi.
INDIAN CULINARY INSTITUTE: The Indian Culinary Institute (ICI), Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, set up by the Ministry of Tourism has commenced academic session with the 3-Year Regular B.Sc. (Culinary Arts) programme from August, in academic collaboration with Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). The ICI is a one-of-its-kind institute, unique in character and poised to give culinary education in India a quantum leap into the future, while providing a bedrock for preservation and promotion of ancient culinary traditions of India, which continues to draw increasing international attention.
HRD/ SKILL DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES:
- Hunar Se Rozgar Tak, a flagship Programme of the Ministry of Tourism to impart employable skills to youth in the age group of 18 to 28 years, and over 12968 persons were trained in the first eight months of the year. With this, the total number of persons trained under the Programme since its inception in the year 2009 stood at about 263918.
- In order to expand the HSRT outreach, it was opened up to implementation by private organizations with domain specific credentials/competence in terms of two verticals titled Badhate Kadam I and Badhate Kadam II. While Badhate Kadam I covers four hospitality trades namely Food Production, Food & Beverages Services, Bakery and Patisserie and Housekeeping Utility, Badhate Kadam II provides training courses to bring up Event Facilitators, Tour Assistants, Transfer Assistants and Office Assistants, Tourism Security Guards, Skin Care & Spa Therapists.
- Under the National Skill Testing & Certification, a total of about 8916 existing service providers were oriented and certified upto 30thNovember, 2016. This number is inclusive of street food vendors sponsored by NASVI and certified during the period under Swachh Bharat – Swachh Pakwan (Hunar Zaika).
SETTING UP OF TASK FORCE ON ADVENTURE TOURISM:
The Ministry of Tourism set up a task force on Adventure Tourism in October, 2016 under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Tourism) for resolving issues related to development and promotion of adventure tourism in the country. Various stakeholders including Adventure Tour Operators, Government Ministries and Central Agencies as well as State Governments are members of the task force. The first meeting of the Task Force took place on 21stDecember, 2016.