Enhanced budget, competition between states, public participation, key for tourism development: G Kishan Reddy

Enhanced budget, competition between states, public participation, key for tourism development: G Kishan Reddy

Union Minister of Tourism, Culture and Development of North Eastern Region G Kishan Reddy on Monday stressed enhanced budget allocations, healthy competition between the states and public participation in the development of tourism in the country.

Tourism is the key sector for the economic growth of the country but the budget allocations at the centre and state level are very low, said Reddy addressing the three-day National Conference of State Tourism Minister underway at Dharamshala.

Tourism Ministers of 12 States including Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Haryana, Mizoram, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh attended the conference.

Besides, increasing the budget allocations, all the states and departments must come on board to chalk out an action plan for the development of tourism.

With the pandemic behind us, Reddy said the tourism industry was on a revival path. He said as a travel destination, India offers a diversity of products and experiences.

“The rich heritage of India, one of the world’s oldest civilizations, is an all-embracing confluence of festivals, religions, traditions, and customs,” said the Union Minister adding that for any global tourist, India is not just a place to see and visit, but a destination to experience and get transformed for life.

If India needs to achieve its immediate goals of a 5 trillion economy and its long-term goal of a developed nation then Tourism has a key role to play, he said.

Reddy said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emphasised two aspects, firstly the “Whole of Government Approach”, where we break down silos and work together across Government Ministries.

Second is we have to work as Team India, where the Union Government and the State Government work together hand in hand for the benefit of the citizens, he added.

The Minister further added that the support of local people and communities must be enlisted so that benefits of Tourism percolate down to the grassroots.

The whole of government approach and Jan bhagidari can revolutionise Tourism sector in the country,’ he said.

Reddy appealed for forming Youth Tourism clubs and School Tourism Clubs just like NCC and NSS 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.

Reddy emphasised that to achieve the true potential of tourism, the most fundamental requirement is to ensure coordination at every level— a proactive approach, from every stakeholder, be it the centre, state or the industry.

Addressing the conference, the chairman of Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ICDT) Dr Sambit Patra said as far as tourism is concerned, more than physical space it is mental space.

“It is the history, culture, and natural beauty of a place that attracts you within the mind and pulls you to go there physically,” he said.

“We have to occupy that mind space through advertisement, using all dimensions which propagate the beauty of incredible India,” he said.

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