‘TOURISM GROWTH DE­PENDS ON IN­FRA­STRUC­TURE DE­VEL­OP­MENT’

K.J. Alphons - Min­is­ter of State for Tourism (in­de­pen­dent Charge)

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The lack of ba­sic in­fra­struc­ture in the smaller cities and towns has led to an im­bal­ance in the tourist flow to a hand­ful of pop­u­lar tourist spots. Apart from road, rail and air con­nec­tiv­ity, lo­cal real es­tate de­vel­op­ment such as ac­com­mo­da­tion, restau­rants, con­ven­tion cen­tres and shop­ping plazas form a ma­jor part of tourism in­fra­struc­ture of a place. Even res­i­den­tial real es­tate mar­ket picks up in some of the non-con­ven­tional realty mar­kets, be­cause of the em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties cre­ated by the hospi­tal­ity and tourism in­dus­try. The case in point is small towns like Neem­rana, Udaipur, Jodh­pur, Al­war, where lo­cal econ­omy ben­e­fit­ted be­cause of their tourism po­ten­tial. We have a short­age of around 200,000 ho­tel rooms in var­i­ous cat­e­gories. Mad­hya Pradesh has come up with a lu­cra­tive pol­icy, where land is given at a long term lease at a much lower upfront cost, to en­able the pri­vate player to de­velop the re­quired hospi­tal­ity in­fra­struc­ture. The lease money is re­ceived over a pe­riod of time and in phases but the model helps gen­er­ated in­come through em­ploy­ment, tax­a­tion, im­pe­tus to lo­cal farm­ers, hor­ti­cul­ture, small traders and other lo­cal raw ma­te­rial sup­pli­ers. An­other im­por­tant as­pect is to put in place suf­fi­cient reg­u­la­tions for ser­vice providers. Ker­ala is one state in In­dia, which pro­vides best of the ameni­ties for tourists, Ra­jasthan has also picked up well re­cently. What we need to­day across In­dia is the “Ethics of Tourism” in the DNA of every In­dian and sel­f­reg­u­la­tion among tourism in­dus­try stake­hold­ers.

build­ing Re­sources & Ca­pa­bil­i­ties

It has been the en­deav­our of the Min­istry of Tourism, to put in place a sys­tem of train­ing and pro­fes­sional ed­u­ca­tion ca­pa­ble of gen­er­at­ing man­power, to meet the needs of the tourism and hospi­tal­ity in­dus­try. As of now, there are 29 In­sti­tutes of Ho­tel Man­age­ment (IHMS), com­pris­ing 21 Cen­tral IHMS and 8 State IHMS, and 5 Food Craft In­sti­tutes (FCIS), which have come up with the sup­port of the Min­istry. We are also tak­ing steps to ad­dress the lack of trained guides and heritage tour guides. Un­der the scheme for ca­pac­ity build­ing of ser­vice providers, pro­fes­sional train­ing, in­clud­ing lan­guage cour­ses in Korean, Man­darin etc. are be­ing con­ducted. We are also ask­ing the state gov­ern­ments to cre­ate spe­cial tourist po­lice cells. Th­ese po­lice­men need to know mul­ti­ple lan­guages or should have an in­ter­preter with them. Also they should be given soft skills train­ing to deal with in­ter­na­tional tourists in the right and ef­fec­tive man­ner. The in­te­gra­tion of Swachh Bharat Mis­sion to­wards de­vel­op­ing civic and mod­ern tourism ameni­ties across heritage sites will pro­pel the In­dian tourism sec­tor. The Union Bud­get 2018 fo­cus on strength­en­ing in­fra­struc­ture, im­prov­ing con­nec­tiv­ity and ru­ral de­vel­op­ment will give the fur­ther boost to the sec­tor.

Sadly, there are some states which are yet to take tourism se­ri­ously and un­der­stand its im­pact on the eco­nomic growth of the re­gion. The Tourism Min­istry can be a fa­cil­i­ta­tor, but the ini­tia­tive has to come from the state gov­ern­ments.

K.j. alphons

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