The Indian Government is seeking to lend an impetus to the growing tourism industry in India and welcome more tourists in the forthcoming years. With this end in view, a budgetary allocation of INR 20-22 thousand crore has been sanctioned in the 12th five year plan.
The Need of the Hour
Tourism is widely seen as a field with the potential to generate revenue and local employment opportunities. This fact is recognized by the Indian Ministry of Tourism, which has announced measures to step up state investment in the tourism industry.
Initiatives to promote India as a tourist destination rather than as a transit point for entry into other tourist destinations are being mooted. The potential for cinematic tourism to generate tourist traffic and development of integrated tourism circuits are other moves discussed at a recent North Indian Management Association (NITMA) conclave held in Chandigarh.
The Initiatives Taken
Mr Subodh Kant Sahay, Union Tourism Minister, while attending the conclave on ‘Integrated Planning & Marketing of Cinematic Tourism in Northern India’ held at Chandigarh on July 30, 2011 announced that the tourism department is eyeing a growth of 12% in the inbound tourist count as against the current 8-8.5% growth rate.
Mr Sahay outlined an ambitious 12th Five Year plan initiative for the development of integrated tourist circuits, aimed at increasing the state revenue from tourism. This initiative would increase the number of inbound tourists, by making the state a tourist destination rather than a mere transit point.
The minister advised that they were seeking solutions to improve the tourism industry by seeking infrastructure status for the industry. The contribution of inbound tourists to the overall revenue was a mere 0.5 per cent as against 3.5 per cent from outbound tourists. The minister also announced measures to correct this imbalance and to increase the revenue from inbound tourists.
Steps to Increase Tourist Inflow
Tourism contributes roughly around 78 direct employment opportunities for every investment of INR 10 lakh. The field has massive potential for creating employment opportunities, directly and indirectly.
Gulshan Sharma, the President of the North Indian Management Association said that cinema shoots in Australia, Thailand and Switzerland have brought the scenic beauty of those destinations to the Indian tourist, which in turn, has increased the flow of Indian tourists to these places. Cinematic tourism is thus a proven catalyst for the growth of inbound tourist traffic.
The role of private investors in promoting tourism and development of tourist destinations was also stressed at the conclave. The example quoted was that of Gujarat, where 40 tourist spots are being developed by private players.