Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Culture and Tourism has informed that The Ministry of Tourism, as part of its on-going activities, regularly releases print, electronic, online and outdoor media campaigns in the international markets, under the “Incredible India” brand-line, to promote various tourism destinations and products of India with the objective of increasing foreign tourist arrivals to the country. The Ministry also promotes various tourism destinations and products through its website and publicity and promotional material produced from time to time. These promotional activities are being undertaken by the 14 India Tourism Offices based in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris, Milan, Dubai, Johannesburg, Sydney, Beijing, Singapore and Tokyo.
In addition, a series of promotional activities are undertaken in important and potential tourist generating markets overseas through the India Tourism Offices abroad with the objective of showcasing India’s tourism potential and promoting tourism to the country. These promotional activities include participation in travel fairs and exhibitions; organising Road Shows, “Know India” seminars & workshops; organizing and supporting Indian food festivals; publication of brochures, offering joint advertising and brochure support, and inviting media personalities, tour operators and opinion makers to visit the country under the Hospitality Programme of the Ministry.
Financial support is also extended under the Marketing Development Assistance Scheme to approved service providers and State Governments/Union Territories for promotional activities undertaken by them in the overseas markets including Sales-cum- study tours, participation in Fairs/Exhibitions and Road Shows and production of publicity material, Sales Tours etc.
For development of tourism infrastructure in the country, the Ministry of Tourism has launched two schemes in 2014-15 i.e. Swadesh Darshan – Integrated Development of Theme-Based Tourist Circuits and PRASAD- Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive.
Under Swadesh Darshan scheme the focus is on development of theme based tourist circuits in the country in a planned and prioritized manner on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness, sustainability, enriching tourist experience and to enhance employment opportunities. Under this Scheme, thirteen thematic circuits have been identified for development namely; 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. As on 30.06.2017, the Ministry has sanctioned 63 projects for Rs.5309.95 crore under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
Under PRASAD Scheme a total number of sites identified at present are 25 viz., Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh), Amritsar (Punjab), Ajmer (Rajasthan), Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh), Badrinath (Uttarakhand), Belur (West Bengal), Dwarka (Gujarat), Deoghar (Jharkhand), Gaya (Bihar) , Guruvayoor (Kerala), Hazratbal (Jammu & Kashmir), Kamakhya (Assam), Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu), Katra (Jammu & Kashmir), Kedarnath (Uttarakhand), Mathura (Uttar Pradesh), Omkareshwar (Madhya Pradesh), Patna (Bihar), Puri (Odisha), Somnath (Gujarat), Srisailam (Andhra Pradesh), Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh), Trimbakeshwar (Maharashtra), Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) and Vellankani (Tamil Nadu). The Ministry has sanctioned a total of Rs.529.12 crore since 2014-15 till date including development of Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh for 2017-18.