Government has set a target to make India the number one tourist destination and focusing on doubling the number of international tourists coming to India by 2024. Replying to discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the working of his Ministry, Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel said, several steps have been taken to revive the tourism sector which was deeply affected due to Covid-19 pandemic. He said, all aspects of tourism including wellness, adventure, yoga, are being promoted to attract more tourists to India. He said, the tourist footfall in Jammu and Kashmir this year has broken the record of the last 16 years.
Mr Patel said, steps like easing norms and more facilities have attracted the Cinema industry in the Union Territory. The Minister said, domestic tourism has witnessed significant growth after the Government initiative of Dekho Apna Desh. He said, Centre is committed to develop tourist destinations in different parts of the country and ready to provide funds in this regard. Saying that the Centre and States should work together to boost the tourism industry, the Minister added that if the States complete one project, Centre will immediately release funds for another project.
Initiating the discussion, KR Suresh Reddy of TRS said, tourism industry was badly affected due to Corona but the kind of support Industry was expecting did not reflect in the Budget. He said, the sector contributes five per cent to the GDP, accounts for 12.9 per cent of jobs leading to 8.8 crore direct and indirect jobs which indicates the potential of this Ministry and its contribution to the growth of the nation.
Participating in the discussion, GC Chandrasekhar of Congress stressed on building the trust of the tourists to boost the industry. He questioned the Government on some of the pending projects of the ministry and also on fund allocation.
S R Balasubramaniyan of AIADMK said, there is a need to analyse the impact of Covid-19 based on the current scenario and make necessary strategic and operational decisions to boost the tourism industry.
Shiv Pratap Shukla and Brijlal of BJP highlighted the Government’s initiatives to attract domestic and international tourists.
Vandana Chavan of NCP, Priyanka Chaturvedi of Shiv Sena, Jaya Bacchan of Samajwadi Party, Chhhaya Verma of Congress, Sujeet Kumar of BJD and others also participated in the discussion drawing problems and opportunities related to Tourism Sector.