The three-day National Conference of State Tourism Ministers at Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh brought many burning issues of the industry on the fore. As many as Tourism Ministers of 12 states including Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Haryana, Mizoram, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh discussed the ways and means to realise the potential of the sector.
During concluding remarks, Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy thanked all the State delegates and sector representatives for their valuable suggestions. Reddy urged that all states share and adopt best practices to boost the tourism sector. States must organise such conferences at state level with district officers of different departments and stakeholders to improve and promote tourism destinations. He emphasised on the importance of Yuva Tourism Clubs and said these clubs can became game changer for the sector. Reddy appealed that just like NSS, NCC we need to work on making Yuva Tourism clubs at all levels. States need to work on a war footing for establishing these tourism clubs which will familiarize the youth with the concept of Dekho Apna Desh, he said and added that to achieve true potential of tourism, the most fundamental requirement is to ensure coordination at every level. We need a proactive approach, from every stakeholder, be it centre, states or the industry, he said.
Reddy also informed that National Flag will be installed at tourist places. He also appealed to the states and stakeholders to install flag at all hotels and tourist places. The Union Minister said that such conferences will be organised from time to time to provide an opportunity to learn from one another and hoped that this will yield desired results very soon.
Talking about the outcome of the conference, Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh said India will play a pivotal role in contributing towards global tourism recovery driven mainly through domestic tourism. All the major tourism indices have started showing signs of recovery towards the pre pandemic levels such as domestic air passenger traffic, hotel occupancy and tourist footfalls, he said.
The National Tourism Policy has been drafted with a holistic vision and strategy to revive India’s tourism and targets to achieve USD 1 trillion by the sector in 2047. Against this backdrop, the Ministry is also paving the way for developing responsible and sustainable tourism destinations. The Government of India will continue to support MSMEs in tourism and capitalise on the employment generation potential in the sector. Various initiatives under the ongoing schemes of the Ministry of Tourism are planned to be strengthened to ensure complete recovery from the disruption caused to the tourism economy due to the pandemic, Singh said.
Singh further said that India plans to position itself as a major tourism destination during its presidency of G20 for 2023. We plan to ensure due rigour, dedication and showcase our cultural richness while welcoming the world to our nation. We plan to bring in necessary interventions including Visa Reforms, Ease of Travel, traveller friendly Immigration Facilities at Airports and openness to international travel and these major topics were deliberated during the two-day meet.
Informing about the goals for the India tourism sector for 2024, he said that we will strive to recover to pre-pandemic level by mid-2024. The country is estimated to achieve US$ 50 billion GDP contribution from tourism, US$30 billion in Foreign Exchange Earnings and 15 million foreign tourist arrivals by 2024.
He further said that India is estimated to grow at 7-9% CAGR in the coming decade and US$ 250 billion GDP contribution from tourism, 137 million jobs, US$ 56 billion in Foreign Exchange Earnings and 25 million foreign tourist arrivals are expected to be achieved by 2030. We commit to deliver plans aligned with these goals and commitments to ensure positioning of India as one of the leaders in the tourism sector by 2047, Singh added.