Govt in the process of drafting new National Tourism Policy: G Kishan Reddy, Minister of Culture, Tourism and DoNER

New Delhi: Mr G Kishan Reddy, Union Cabinet Minister of Culture, Tourism and Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Govt of India today said that the tourism sector is one of the major sector in India for economic growth and employment generation. “The government is in the process of drafting a new National Tourism Policy in India. I urge all stakeholders to participate in preparing the new National Tourism Policy” he stated.

Addressing the ‘2nd Travel, Tourism & Hospitality E Conclave – Resilience & The Road to Recovery’, organized virtually by FICCI, Mr Reddy said, “Once we adopt the new policy it will be helpful, particularly for the stakeholders. Through this policy, we will get proper response, investments and support from village gram panchayats to governments.”

Mr Reddy also stated that we have also put up a draft strategy for the development of MICE tourism and all stakeholders should come forward and share their opinion. “Stakeholders must also impress upon the state governments to give industry status to tourism as this will greatly help in developing the sector, particularly the infrastructure. To achieve the true potential of tourism, the fundamental requirement is to ensure coordination at every level of the activity. We need to have pro-active approach from every stakeholder including the industry, state government and central government,” he added.

Speaking on the various initiatives taken by the government, Mr Reddy said that the central government plays an important role in developing a strong visitor economy which is evident from the fact that the Ministry of Tourism has also undertaken a slew of initiatives, such as the Incredible India 2.0 campaign focusing on niche tourism products including wellness and adventure tourism, as well as investment into the industry through schemes, such as PRASHAD and Swadesh Darshan along with extension of e-visa to 169 countries, which have proven to be successful in increasing the number of foreign and domestic visitors in India.

Globally, he said, the entire tourism industry is going through the transition phase. “Today, there is a need to focus our energies on not just reviving the sector but making this sector one of the drivers to revive the economy. Digitalization can be the way forward to make tourism sector attractive,” he noted.

Tourism, Mr Reddy said is not just about attractive destinations and leisure activities, but it has emerged as one of the fundamental pillars of economic development and employment generation. “It not only acts as a massive growth engine but also enhances the nation’s soft power. This dual pact makes it one of the most important sectors in the modern globalized economy,” he added.

Dr Jyotsna Suri, Past President, FICCI & Chairperson, FICCI Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Committee & CMD, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group said that in the long term we request that the travel tourism and hospitality sector become part of the concurrent list and we are granted the infrastructure industry status so that we can avail of the benefits that other manufacturing and other industries get. She also urged the government that there should be no end date to the free tourist visas for upto 5 lakh tourists. “The ECLGS scheme has not has many takers because of the short timeline. We request that there should be a four-year moratorium followed by four-year period for repayment,” added Dr Suri.

Mr Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI said that the travel, tourism and hospitality sector, that once contributed 9% to the India’s GDP with an equivalent share in employment generation, has been facing heavy job losses and piling debt. “At this point, we need urgent intervention from the Centre in the form of a stimulus package and much-deserved ‘industry’ status,” he added.