"India has emerged as a leading tourist destination with all its varied attractions and arrival of foreign tourists have been increasing, but we need to accelerate the rate of its growth," Union Minister of state for Tourism (Independent Charge) K Chiranjeevi said.
He was speaking at the inauguration of the three-day International Tourism Mart, 2013 in Guwahati. The Mart is the first ever international tourism event to be organised in North-East that aims at promoting the region as an attractive tourist destination for foreign tourists.
The decision by the Ministry of Home Affairs to lift the restriction of the two-month gap on re-entry of foreign nationals coming to India on a tourist visa would facilitate visitors to the country to a large extent, Chiranjeevi said.
Stating that the relaxation would also benefit the north eastern states, he said, "My ministry is committed to the development and promotion of tourism in this beautiful region.
"Ten percent of the plan budget has to be allocated to the North-East region and I am happy to state that we have exceeded this target which will help in the development of tourism in the region," he said.
The Union Minister urged all stakeholders to have the vision to modernise, responding to changing trends in the global tourism sector and to partner with the government to make India realise its full potential in tourism.
Chiranjeevi said his ministry has taken initiatives for growth in domestic and international tourism, which included central financial assistance to states and Union Territories for development of quality infrastructure for tourist destinations and circuits.
The 'Hunar Se Rozgar' scheme has been launched to create employable skills among youths, he said.
Niche tourism products such as rural, medical, wellness, golf and eco-tourism were being developed to promote the country as a 365-day destination.
The concept of 'film tourism' was also being promoted as several destinations gained in tourist arrivals as they were venues of popular domestic and international cinema.
A 'Campaign Clean India' was also launched to improve the standards of hygiene and cleanliness in and around tourist sites and destinations, the Minister said.
There were new promotional campaigns on the themes 'Find what you seek' and 'Go Beyond' to promote lesser known destinations for tourists from across the world to find the destination or product of their choice in India.
Guwahati: The Union Ministry of Tourism has set a target of increasing the share of India in world tourist arrivals from present 0.6 percent to one percent in the next five years.
First Published: Saturday, January 19, 2013, 15:43