PRO­MOT­ING IN­DIA AS A HOLIS­TIC DES­TI­NA­TION

Airports India - - ODISHA -

Be­ing a part of Civil Avi­a­tion Min­istry as well as Tourism, what are the ma­jor pri­or­i­ties of your Depart­ment? The ma­jor pri­or­i­ties of the Min­istry of tourism are to In­crease In­dia’s share in world tourist ar­rivals from the present 0.68% to 1% by 2020 and in­crease it to 2% by 2025. po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic agenda. de­vel­op­ment, which is Gov­ern­men­tled, pri­vate sec­tor driven and com­mu­nity wel­fare ori­ented. mech­a­nism be­tween the Cen­tre and the States, I UTS and be­tween var­i­ous Min­istries / De­part­ments to drive the Na­tional Tourism Agenda. com­mu­ni­ties and the nat­u­ral and cul­tural en­vi­ron­ments. hy­gienic en­vi­ron­ment for tourists. des­ti­na­tions based on In­dia’s unique civ­i­liza­tion, her­itage, and cul­ture in part­ner­ship with States I UTS, pri­vate sec­tor and other agen­cies. pre­ferred tourism des­ti­na­tion in over­seas mar­kets. driver of tourism growth. the tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tors. in­vest­ment.

What have been the ma­jor achieve­ments so far in your ten­ure?

Tourism is high on pri­or­ity of our Gov­ern­ment. Our Gov­ern­ment is lay­ing spe­cial em­pha­sis on the Tourism Sec­tor be­cause tourism is a ma­jor gen­er­a­tor of em­ploy­ment. To achieve the de­sired goal, we have taken sev­eral ini­tia­tives and some of the ma­jor achieve­ments of the Min­istry of Tourism are as fol­lows: (Davos) Re­port, 2015, on Travel and Tourism Com­pet­i­tive­ness In­dex, In­dia has moved 13 po­si­tions ahead from 65’” to 52nd rank. In­dia be­tween June 2014 and April 2015 was 7.31mil­lion with a growth of 7.53% against the same pe­riod of the pre­vi­ous year. The For­eign Ex­change Earn­ings (FEE) from the tourism sec­tor be­tween June 2014 and April 2015 was Rs. 1, 14, 255 crores with a growth rate of 9.49% against the same pe­riod of the pre­vi­ous year. in­tro­duced for 113 coun­tries and to be ex­tended to an­other 37 coun­tries in the Fi­nan­cial Year 2015-16. ETA en­ables the prospec­tive for­eign vis­i­tor to ap­ply

Possessing an in­born qual­ity of lead­er­ship, he has proven ca­pa­bil­ity of man­ag­ing the busi­ness af­fairs ef­fi­ciently. A med­i­cal prac­ti­tioner who won the Lok Sabha elec­tions in 2014 from Gau­tam Budh Na­gar in Ut­tar Pradesh, took oath as Min­is­ter of State (In­de­pen­dent Charge) for Cul­ture, Tourism and Civil Avi­a­tion in the Naren­dra Modi gov­ern­ment, Union Min­is­ter of State for Cul­ture, Tourism and Civil Avi­a­tion, Dr. Ma­hesh Sharma, spoke about the fu­ture of avi­a­tion and tourism in In­dia with Puja Ban­er­jee

for an In­dian Visa from his/her home coun­try on­line with­out vis­it­ing the In­dian Mis­sion and also pay the visa fee on­line. a ‘Wel­come Book­let’ for dis­tri­bu­tion at im­mi­gra­tion coun­ters to tourists ar­riv­ing at in­ter­na­tional air­ports. The ‘Wel­come Book­let con­tains in­for­ma­tion on Dos and Don’ts for tourists. Con­tact de­tails of In­dia Tourism do­mes­tic of­fices and ‘Tourist Helpline Num­ber’. The book­let is in­tended to be a help­ful aid to for­eign tourists im­me­di­ately on ar­rival. a 24 x 7 “In­cred­i­ble In­dia Help Line” in De­cem­ber 2014 to pro­vide the tourist valu­able in­for­ma­tion and guide them dur­ing emer­gen­cies. It is in­tended to pro­vide a sense of se­cu­rity to the tourists. This ser­vice is avail­able toll free on tele­phone no. 1800111363 or on a short code 1363. SWADESH DAR­SHAN for in­te­grated de­vel­op­ment of theme based cir­cuits - 12 cir­cuits ini­tially iden­ti­fied un­der SWADESH DAR­SHAN - North East Cir­cuit, Bud­dhist Cir­cuit, Coastal Cir­cuit, Hi­malayan Cir­cuit, Kr­ishna Cir­cuit, Tribal Cir­cuit, Ra­mayana Cir­cuit, Eco Cir­cuit, Ru­ral Cir­cuit, Spir­i­tual Cir­cuit, Wild Life Cir­cuit and Desert Cir­cuit. Launched in pur­suance of the Bud­get An­nounce­ments of 201415, Swadesh Dar­shan Scheme aims at in­te­grated de­vel­op­ment of cir­cuits hav­ing tourist po­ten­tial in a planned and pri­or­i­tized man­ner, pro­mot­ing cul­tural her­itage of the coun­try, de­vel­op­ing world-class in­fra­struc­ture in cir­cuit des­ti­na­tions, pro-poor tourism ap­proach, pro­mot­ing lo­cal arts, hand­i­crafts, cui­sine and gen­er­at­ing em­ploy­ment and (ii) Na­tional Mis­sion on Pil­grim­age Re­ju­ve­na­tion and Spir­i­tual Aug­men­ta­tion Drive (PRASAD) for im­prove­ment and beau­ti­fi­ca­tion of pil­grim­age sites of all faiths. This scheme aims at in­te­grated de­vel­op­ment of pil­grim­age des­ti­na­tions to pro­vide com­plete re­li­gious and spir­i­tual tourism ex­pe­ri­ence. 12 cities have been iden­ti­fied for im­ple­men­ta­tion in the first phase, i.e. Varanasi, Am­rit­sar, Mathura, Gaya, Kanchipuram, Ve­lankanni, Dwarka, Puri, Am­ra­vati, Kedar­nath and Ka­makhya. Four projects, one each for Gaya and Puri and 2 for Mathura have been sanc­tioned un­der PRASAD in 2014-15. Kadam’ launched - The HSRT, a pro­gramme to cre­ate em­ploy­able skills, was opened in De­cem­ber, 2014 for pri­vate par­tic­i­pa­tion un­der a dis­tinct ver­ti­cal ti­tled “Hu­nar Se Roz­gar Tak: Bad­hte Kadam”. The ob­jec­tive is to en­hance the pro­gramme’s reach and de­liv­ery. The trades opened are food Pro­duc­tion, food & Bev­er­age Ser­vice, House­keep­ing and Bak­ery & Patis­serie. (Hu­nar Zaika): Launched in De­cem­ber 2014,this pro­gramme aims at up­grad­ing the skills and hy­giene stan­dards of Street Food Ven­dors. As part of the ori­en­ta­tion, the ven­dors are also sen­si­tized to per­sonal, en­vi­ron­men­tal and waste dis­posal hy­giene. The ini­tia­tive con­verges two im­por­tant ini­tia­tives of the Gov­ern­ment - ‘Skill In­dia’ and ‘Clean In­dia’. Funds pro­vided un­der this pro­gramme by the Min­istry of Tourism in­clude com­pen­sa­tion to the ven­dors for the in­come loss dur­ing the du­ra­tion of ori­en­ta­tion. The pro­gramme has seen cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of more than 2800 ven­dors be­tween De­cem­ber 2014 and June 2015. The Min­istry tar­gets ori­en­ta­tion of at least 12000 ven­dors dur­ing the year 2015-16. set up In­dian Culi­nary In­sti­tute (ICI) at Tiru­pati with its re­gional cen­tre at Noida. The main ob­jec­tive of set­ting up ICI is to in­sti­tu­tion­al­ize mech­a­nism to sup­port ef­forts in­tended to pre­serve, doc­u­ment, pro­mote and dis­sem­i­nate the In­dian Cui­sine, meet the sec­toral re­quire­ment of spe­cial­ists and teach­ers spe­cific to In­dian Cui­sine and pro­mote cui­sine as a Niche Tourism Prod­uct. Th­ese in­sti­tutes would also have an in­ter­na­tional tie-up with the best avail­able global op­tions. 2015 held in Berlin in March 2015, the In­dian Pav­il­ion set up by the Min­istry of Tourism won the 2nd place for the Best Stand in the Asia, Aus­tralia and Ocea­nia cat­e­gory. At the World Travel Mar­ket (WTM) Africa 2015 held in Cape Town, South Africa in April 2015, the In­dia Tourism Stand of the Min­istry

of Tourism re­ceived the ‘Best Fea­ture Award’ from M/s Reed Travel Expo. into Mous/ Agree­ments with the fol­low­ing coun­tries for co­op­er­a­tion Gov­ern­ment of the Repub­lic of In­dia and the Gov­ern­ment of Aus­tralia signed a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing for strength­en­ing co­op­er­a­tion in the field of Tourism dur­ing the State visit of the Prime Min­is­ter of In­dia to Aus­tralia on 18th Novem­ber 2014. (ii) The Gov­ern­ment of the Repub­lic of In­dia and the Gov­ern­ment of Nepal signed a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing for strength­en­ing co­op­er­a­tion in the field of Tourism dur­ing the State visit of the Prime Min­is­ter of In­dia to Nepal on 25’” Novem­ber 2014. (iii) A Let­ter of In­tent be­tween the of the Repub­lic of In­dia and the Gov­ern­ment of The French Repub­lic for strength­en­ing co­op­er­a­tion in the field of Tourism was signed on 9th April, 2015. (iv) An Agree­ment be­tween the Gov­ern­ment of the Repub­lic of In­dia and the Gov­ern­ment of Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China for strength­en­ing co­op­er­a­tion in the field of Tourism was signed on 1st May, 2015.

Qual­ity or In­fra­struc­ture and con­nec­tiv­ity has been termed as the ma­jor is­sues for lndian Tourism Sec­tor. What is the Gov­ern­ment do­ing to ad­dress th­ese con­cerns in the next three years?

Min­istry of Tourism is seized of the is­sues re­lated to the de­vel­op­ment of world class in­fra­struc­ture and bet­ter con­nec­tiv­ity in var­i­ous tourism des­ti­na­tions in the coun­try. The two new schemes for de­vel­op­ment of tourism in­fra­struc­ture in the coun­try launched dur­ing 201415 will also ad­dress both th­ese is­sues. Un­der Swadesh Dar­shan, in­te­grated de­vel­op­ment of theme based cir­cuits has been taken up for holis­tic and in­clu­sive de­vel­op­ment which can pro­vide en­gag­ing and com­plete tourism ex­pe­ri­ence to both do­mes­tic and for­eign tourists. The Scheme en­vis­age en­hance­ment of tourist at­trac­tive­ness in a sus­tain­able man­ner by de­vel­op­ing world class in­fra­struc­ture in the cir­cuit des­ti­na­tion. The PRASAD Scheme guide­lines en­vis­age the in­te­grated de­vel­op­ment of pil­grim­age des­ti­na­tions in a planned, pri­or­i­tized and sus­tain­able man­ner to pro­vide com­plete re­li­gious tourism ex­pe­ri­ence to both do­mes­tic and for­eign tourists. Un­der th­ese new schemes, it has been pro­posed to im­prove the con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween var­i­ous tourism des­ti­na­tions in the iden­ti­fied cir­cuits. It has also been pro­posed to pro­vide funds for de­vel­op­ment of he­li­pads, he­li­ports, air-strips, rope­ways re­quired for tourists in the iden­ti­fied cir­cuits, the im­prove­ment of con­nec­tiv­ity lead­ing to tourist sites/des­ti­na­tions, de­vel­op­ment and up-gra­da­tion of pas­sen­ger ter­mi­nals such as road, rail and wa­ter-trans­port, pro­cure­ment of equip­ment for ecofriendly modes of tourist trans­port, etc. The new schemes also have pro­vi­sions for im­prove­ment in com­mu­ni­ca­tion through tele­phone booths, mo­bile ser­vices and in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity. At present we have about 125 air­ports, out of which 30 are non- func­tional ones. It has to be a win­win sit­u­a­tion for the air­line op­er­a­tors also. There­fore, we have pro­posed to take the avi­a­tion fa­cil­i­ties to the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, but con­nect­ing the re­mote ar­eas di­rectly will not be pos­si­ble as of now, it is a grad­ual process.

For­eign tourists face a lot of ha­rass­ment in In­dia. What are the spe­cial ini­tia­tives be­ing taken by the gov­ern­ment?

We have started a train­ing pro­gramme

for avi­a­tion per­son­nel, through our Min­istry of Tourism, where we pro­pose train­ing from ev­ery an­gle, also the CISF staff, or the im­mi­gra­tion counter peo­ple, to dis­play cour­tesy and hos­pi­tal­ity as part of the tourism cul­ture, we have trained them, es­pe­cially so the for­eign tourists who are fe­males are not ha­rassed in any way. i)the Min­istry of Tourism, on a pi­lot ba­sis, has set up the ‘In­cred­i­ble In­dia Help Line’ to ad­dress and guide the tourists dur­ing any emer­gen­cies which may in­clude med­i­cal, crime, nat­u­ral calami­ties or on be­ing stranded. This ser­vice will be avail­able as toll free on tele­phone 1800111363 or on a short code 1363 and is ac­ces­si­ble 24x7 and 365 to pro­vide au­then­tic in­for­ma­tion to tourists and also guide them dur­ing emer­gen­cies once they are in In­dia. ii) Grant of Cen­tral Fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to Gov­ern­ments of Ra­jasthan, Ut­tar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh for set­ting up of Tourist Fa­cil­i­ta­tion and Se­cu­rity Or­gan­i­sa­tion (TFSO) on a pi­lot ba­sis. iii)adop­tion of code of con­duct for Safe Tourism, which con­tains a set of guide­lines to en­cour­age tourism ac­tiv­i­ties to be un­der­taken with re­spect to ba­sic rights like dig­nity, safety and free­dom from ex­ploita­tion of both tourists and lo­cal res­i­dents, in par­tic­u­lar women and chil­dren. iv)all the Chief Min­is­ters of the State Gov­ern­ments and Ad­min­is­tra­tors of Union Ter­ri­tory Ad­min­is­tra­tions have been asked to take im­me­di­ate ef­fec­tive steps for en­sur­ing a con­ducive and friendly en­vi­ron­ment for all tourists and also re­quest them to pub­li­cize the steps be­ing taken/pro­posed to be taken to in­crease the sense of se­cu­rity amongst the present/prospec­tive visi­tors and also to counter the neg­a­tive public­ity. v) In the wake of some un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dents in­volv­ing for­eign tourists, Min­istry of Tourism has also posted an ad­vi­sory on its web­site www.in­cred­i­ble in­dia.org. vi)min­istry of Tourism has ad­vised all the State Gov­ern­ments/union Ter­ri­tory Ad­min­is­tra­tions to de­ploy Tourist Po­lice in the States /Union Ter­ri­to­ries. The State Gov­ern­ments/ Union Ter­ri­tory Ad­min­is­tra­tions of Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Goa, Hi­machal Pradesh, Jammu and Kash­mir, Kar­nataka, Ker­ala, Ma­ha­rash­tra, Mad­hya Pradesh, Odisha, Pun­jab, Ra­jasthan, and Ut­tar Pradesh have de­ployed Tourist Po­lice, in one form or the other.

What are the fu­ture ini­tia­tives in the avi­a­tion sec­tor? Tell us about the pre­dat­ing prices of the Air­lines.

With the in­crease and the ex­pected in­crease in the avi­a­tion hub, In­dia is go­ing to reach from world rank­ing 9 to po­si­tion 3 by 2020. It is in need of a re­vamp, thus we have taken out an avi­a­tion pol­icy, where we have tried to ad­dress all the is­sues re­lated to Avi­a­tion, DGCA, Pawan­hans and Air­port Author­ity of In­dia, where we have de­fined them with a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive. With this pol­icy we are sure that there would be ma­jor changes in the fu­ture. We can bring up air­ports at Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. We want to re­lax the pro­cess­ing of DGCA as a reg­u­la­tor author­ity, where we want to make the rules and the guide­lines trans­par­ent and user friendly. At present there is a dis­cus­sion with the Min­istry, about the pre­dat­ing prices whether it should be there or not. So in the first phase we would re­quest the air­lines, as we understand that there is hardly 1 to 2 per cent of the trav­ellers’ pay that is be­ing the pre­dated price. So we have re­quested the air­lines to have a con­sent on the is­sue, rather than us­ing the reg­u­la­tor. Talk­ing of Air In­dia, in ten years they have shown a profit of about 2200 crores, though with heavy debts it will take some time to bring the op­er­a­tional profit, whereas the on time op­er­a­tion of Air In­dia has in­creased from 67 to 82 per cent. We also pro­pose the air con­nec­tiv­ity as a part of tourism. Rang­ing from the Hi­malayas to the North East down to South In­dia, we want to use the fa­cil­i­ties as an en­hance­ment in the tourism sec­tor of In­dia.

The Gov­ern­ment is also plan­ning to re­launch in­cred­i­ble In­dia 2.0? Please tell us about this project?

Pro­mo­tion and Public­ity of In­dia as a tourist des­ti­na­tion is an on­go­ing ac­tiv­ity. The Min­istry of Tourism promotes In­dia as a holis­tic des­ti­na­tion in the do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional mar­kets. As part of its pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­i­ties, the Min­istry re­leases cam­paigns in the in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic mar­kets un­der the In­cred­i­ble In­dia brand-line and show­cases var­i­ous tourism des­ti­na­tions and prod­ucts in­clud­ing its cul­tural her­itage. In ad­di­tion to this, the Min­istry of Tourism promotes var­i­ous tourism des­ti­na­tions and prod­ucts through its web­sites and public­ity and pro­mo­tional ma­te­rial pro­duced by it from time to time. Var­i­ous pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­i­ties are also un­der­taken through it do­mes­tic and over­seas In­dia Tourism Of­fices.

Union Min­is­ter of State for Cul­ture, Tourism and Civil Avi­a­tion Dr. Ma­hesh Sharma, with Hon’ble Prime Min­is­ter, Naren­dra Modi

Dr. Ma­hesh Sharma with Civil Avi­a­tion Min­is­ter, Pusap­ati Ashok Ga­jap­athi Raju

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