Tourism has been recognized as one of the major engines for inclusive growth and employment. It has been universally acknowledged that the Travel and Tourism Sector contributes substantially to reducing poverty and empowering women, youth and migrant workers with new employment opportunities.
The Ministry of Tourism, is the nodal agency for the formulation of national policies and programmes and for the co-ordination of activities of various Central Government Agencies, State Governments/UTs and the Private Sector for the development and promotion of tourism in the country. The Ministry has focused on holistic development of Tourism in the country with the objective of promoting employment and inclusive growth along with active participation and support of the private sector.
The importance of Tourism as a growth engine has been underlined in the recent declaration of the G-20 Leaders of Nations Summit held in Mexico in June 2012 which reads:
“We recognize the role of travel and tourism as a vehicle for job creation, economic growth and development, and, while recognizing the sovereign rights of States to control the entry of foreign nationals, we will work towards developing travel facilitation initiatives in support of job creation, quality work, poverty reduction and global growth.”
Growth of Tourism
The benchmark for the sector is the growth in the number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals and generating valuable Foreign Exchange. The Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA) inIndia in 2011 were 6.29 million with a growth of 8.9%, as compared to the FTAs of 5.78 million with a growth of 11.8% during the year 2010. The growth rate of 8.9% in 2011 forIndia is better than UNWTO’s projected growth rate of 4% to 5% for the world in 2011 and 7% to 9% for Asia and the Pacific.
The number of domestic tourist visits increased from 740.21 million in 2010 as compared to 668.80 million in 2009 showing a growth of 10.7 percent. Thus, the domestic tourism witnessed impressive growth during this period. Foreign Exchange Earnings from tourism during 2011 were Rs. 77591 crore with a growth of 19.6 %, as compared to the Foreign Exchange Earnings of Rs. 64889 crore with a growth of 18.1% during the year 2010 over 2009.
The objective of the Ministry is to increase India’s share in world tourist arrivals to 1% from the present 0.6 % by the end of the 12th Five Year Plan. This would result in achieving 11.37 million Foreign Tourist Arrivals by 2016. Also, the Ministry has targeted 1495.82 million Domestic Tourism Visits by 2016. For achieving this objective, the Ministry has stepped up its promotional activities in important as well as potential source markets overseas and is taking several initiatives for overall growth in the sector.
Infrastructure development holds the key to the sustained growth in India’s tourism sector. Therefore, the Ministry has been making efforts to develop quality tourism infrastructure at tourist destinations and circuits.
A scheme for development of nationally and internationally important destinations and circuits through Mega Projects has been initiated. So far, 47 mega projects have been identified out of which 32 projects have already been sanctioned. The mega projects are a judicious mix of culture, heritage, spiritual and ecotourism in order to give tourists a holistic perspective.
Tourism development depends on synergy and convergence between various sectors and the Ministry is continuing in its efforts to achieve such synergy. Due to its efforts, an Inter-ministerial Coordination Committee for the Tourism Sector has been set up under the chairmanship of the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister. The Committee will facilitate resolution of inter-ministerial issues involved in the development of tourism in the country, as well as issues raised by industry associations in the tourism sector. The first meeting of this Committee was held on 19th January 2012 in which various issues were taken up.
Hunar Se Rozgar
Hunar Se Rozgar (HSR) is an important means to achieve the goal of the 12th Plan – of promoting faster, sustainable and more inclusive economic growth. .The programme aims at creation of employable skills amongst youth in the age group of 18 to 28 years with a minimum qualification of passing Class 8 and provides training in programmes ranging from 6 to 8 weeks covering Food and Beverage service and Food Production, Housekeeping Utility and Bakery and Patisserie as well as acquiring driving skills. This programme has been recognized as a key central initiative for skill development. The Ministry has been working tirelessly towards broad-basing the implementation of this initiative so as to reach youth in a much larger number all across the country. The approach in this has been both conventional and innovative.
One of the innovative approaches for this Hunar Se Rozgar scheme is the tie up with the Indian Army entitled- ‘Hunar Se Rozgar- Sena Ke Sahyog Se’ in which Army units will provide training infrastructure free of cost and also administer the programmes. The trainees will be expected to imbibe the spirit of military discipline and hardiness. The academic support will be provided by the Institutes of Hotel Management designated for the purpose. The first training programme within this sub-initiative is already underway since 14th June at the Army Unit at Uri. The Institute of Hotel management at Srinagar is the partner Institute.
Campaign Clean India
One aspect that has adversely impacted tourism in our country, both international and domestic, relates to unsatisfactory hygiene and cleanliness at important tourist destinations. This factor has emerged as a major road-block to full realization of our tourism potential. The Ministry of Tourism has taken the initiative to put in place a comprehensive strategy to effect cleanliness at tourist destinations under the “Campaign Clean India”. The Campaign will employ a balance of persuasion, education, sensitization, training, demonstration and regulation for achieving its goal and will be implemented in collaboration with Central and State Governments, Ministries, the Corporate Sector, Travel Trade, NGOs, Educational Institutions, Media and Stakeholders.
The Campaign was launched with a Workshop organized in New Delhi which was attended by dignitaries including Former President of India Shri A P J Abdul Kalam, Government Ministers, Members of Parliament, Media Luminaries as well as stars from the Film world in addition to members of the Travel and Hospitality trade NGOs, Corporate Sector and Media houses. Very useful suggestions were obtained from the participants in the workshop which would be taken in to account while detailing the strategy for taking the campaign forward. The entire exercise aims to undertake both sensitization and action at the sites to create an acceptable level of cleanliness and hygiene. The objective is also to ensure that these levels are sustained through ownership and involvement of private and public sector stakeholders. The Ministry would also sign MoUs with 14 ministries seeking their intervention for synergy of efforts.
Thirty six monuments have been identified by ASI for the pilot project and ten of these have already been adopted by Institute of Hotel Management/IITTM. Schools and institutes will undertake ‘Shramdan’ at the destination. They would also critically analyze the solid waste management system and propose improvements. The Pilot Project of the Campaign Clean India was launched at Qutub Minar in Delhi on 19th June 2012 by Shri Subodh Kant Sahai, Minister for Tourism along with Kumar Selja, Minister for Culture and Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Shri Shankersinh Vaghela, Chairman of India Tourism Development Corporation. The project has been undertaken by ITDC in cooperation with the various stakeholder associations and the ASI. The event also saw the release of the publicity material for the campaign including posters, slogans and Radio Commercials. The innovative Radio Commercials of this campaign are being run of the major FM channels in the country.
The Ministry of Tourism is thus committed to the development of tourism in the country so as to benefit the common man and to provide employment opportunities to the youth in all corners of our country.