The draft of National Tourism Policy is yet to take a final shape, said the Union Minister of Culture, Tourism and DoNER, G Kishan Reddy adding that the Tourism Ministry now seeks more inputs from the industry stakeholders. He said there are plans to involve general public recommendations as well
The Union Minister of Culture, Tourism and DoNER, G Kishan Reddy said that the Ministry is consistently working on taking various suggestions and feedback to push out the final National Tourism Policy.
“We have taken suggestions from several ministries and states on the plan of action to formulate the new policy and have received positive feedback. We are now looping in the industry stakeholders asking for their recommendations and will soon reach out to the common man asking for their inputs,” shared Reddy.
When asked about the tentative timeline of the policy unveiling, Reddy expressed that the Ministry of Tourism is consistently putting in efforts to take it out as soon as possible.
Part of the New India vision, the National Tourism Policy draft had made a lot of buzz last year and was eagerly expected to be out around the budget session of 2023-34. However, that didn’t happen.
The policy, as described by the officials, is a holistic framework for sustainable and responsible growth of the tourism sector and aims at improving framework conditions for tourism development across the country, supporting tourism-related industries and strengthening the tourism ecosystem. Five key areas that would be given significant focus in the next 10 years through this new policy would be sustainable tourism, digital innovation in the sector, destination management, skilling the hospitality sector and supporting tourism-related Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The policy also aims to advocate appropriate taxation and subsidy policies to encourage more investment opportunities in the sector, especially in the sustainable tourism activities.
Further talking about the increasing demand of domestic tourism, Reddy acknowledged that arrivals within the country have been on the rise, especially during and post pandemic. As continued efforts for the Dekho Apna Desh campaign, an initiative by MoT, webinars, quizzes, deliberations will keep happening in the year ahead, to encourage the citizens to travel within their country, he added.
To date, more than 150 Dekho Apna Desh Webinars have been conducted so far.
He also spoke about a tremendous surge in tourism numbers in Srinagar which jumped up to 1.84 crores in 2022. Reddy said that pre-pandemic, there were just 300 flights flying into Srinagar with less frequency; October 2022 onwards, the number has increased to 532 weekly flights.
He also emphasised on the crucial role of air connectivity in promoting tourism and said that MoT, with the help of the Civil Aviation Ministry has sanctioned 59 tourism routes under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) UDAN.
Efforts to improve road connectivity to various tourist destinations and iconic sites will be a continued process to push domestic tourism, Reddy shared.
To boost tourism in the northeastern states, MoT in collaboration with the Ministry of Roads and Highways is currently developing 50 viewpoints as well as enhancing infrastructure and connectivity, said Reddy while acknowledging the government’s 25 percent of fund allocation for tourism development in the NE region.