Focus to attract foreign tourists: Sahay



Ranchi: Setting a target to attract one crore tourists from foreign countries over a period of time, Union Tourism Minister, Subodh Kant Sahay on Saturday said health tourism would be a thrust area.

"Eco-tourism, rural tourism and medical tourism can attract a lot of foreigners, particularly in Kerala," Sahay told a news conference here.

"It’s just 0.5 per cent tourists from foreign countries now, and our target will be to attract about one crore with the slogan ‘safe tourism and honourable tourism’," he said.

To a query on extremist shadow on tourism, Sahay said Maoists had never been a challenge to the growth of tourism.

Stating 65 crore domestic tourists criss-crossing the states during 2008/09, Sahay said his department would take initiatives to give the tourists the opportunities to spend their life qualitatively and comfortably in the lap of nature.

"The economy of Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia depends on international tourism," the minister said adding that the northern states had a tremendous scope to expand tourism.

Calling upon the state governments to coordinate with his department by suggesting proposals and implementing them within a time-frame and take advantage of tourism potential in generating job opportunities.

"We have also proposals to impart skill training to under-metriculate persons so that they can get jobs in various hotels," he said.

PTI