Dr. Ma­hesh Sharma, Min­is­ter of State for Cul­ture and Tourism (In­de­pen­dent Charge)

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The num­ber of For­eign Tourist Vis­its ( FTVs) to dif­fer­ent States/ Union Ter­ri­to­ries for the year 2013, 2014 and 2015 were 19.95 mil­lion, 22.33 mil­lion and 23.33 mil­lion, re­spec­tively. The top five States, in terms of num­ber of FTVs dur­ing 2015 were Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Ut­tar Pradesh, Delhi and West Ben­gal. The States/UTs, namely, An­daman & Ni­co­bar Is­lands, Bi­har, Chandi­garh, Hi­machal Pradesh, Jammu & Kash­mir and Ut­tarak­hand wit­nessed de­crease in FTVs dur­ing 2015 as com­pared to 2012. The sta­tus of Andhra Pradesh and Te­len­gana has been treated to­gether in view of non avail­abil­ity of break-up of data of FTVs for the year 2012. Some of the fac­tors re­spon­si­ble for For­eign Tourist Ar­rivals in any coun­try, in­clud­ing In­dia, are eco­nomic con­di­tions of the source and desti­na­tion coun­tries, air con­nec­tiv­ity, etc. The ini­tia­tives taken by the Min­istry of Tourism in the re­cent years for pro­mot­ing tourism and to at­tract more tourists in the county are as be­low:

• Launch of the Swadesh Dar­shan and PRASAD (Na­tional Mis­sion on Pil­grim­age Re­ju­ve­na­tion and Spir­i­tual Augmentation Drive) Schemes in the year 2014-15 with a vi­sion to de­velop theme based tourist cir­cuits to en­rich tourist ex­pe­ri­ence and beau­tify and im­prove the ameni­ties and in­fra­struc­ture at pil­grim­age cen­tres.

• In­tro­duc­tion of e-Tourist Visa fa­cil­ity for the cit­i­zens of 150 coun­tries at 16 air­ports.

• Re­vi­sion of e-TV fee in four slabs of 0, US$25, US$48 and US$60 from Novem­ber 3, 2015. Ear­lier e-TV ap­pli­ca­tion fee was US$60 and bank charge as US$2 which was uni­form for all the coun­tries. The re­vi­sion of Visa fee has been done on the prin­ci­ple of rec­i­proc­ity. Bank charges have also been re­duced from US$2 to 2.5 % of the e-TV fee.

• The Min­istry of Tourism has launched ‘Wel­come Book­let’ with in­for­ma­tion on Do’s and Don’ts for tourists, con­tact de­tails of In­dia Tourism do­mes­tic offices and Tourist Helpline Num­ber for dis­tri­bu­tion at im­mi­gra­tion coun­ters to tourists ar­riv­ing at in­ter­na­tional air­ports.

• Or­ga­ni­za­tion of bi­en­nial In­ter­na­tional Bud­dhist Con­clave.

• Or­ga­ni­za­tion of An­nual In­ter­na­tional Tourism Mart for pro­mo­tion of tourism in North East­ern States. The Min­istry of Tourism has taken the fol­low­ing mea­sures to en­sure the safety and se­cu­rity of for­eign tourists:

• The Min­istry of Tourism has

launched the Toll Free Multi--

Lin­gual Tourist Helpline on 8.2.2016. The lan­guages han­dled by the Tourist Helpline in­clude ten In­ter­na­tional lan­guages be­sides English and Hindi, namely, Ara­bic, French, Ger­man, Ital­ian, Ja­panese, Korean, Chi­nese, Por­tuguese, Rus­sian and Span­ish. This ser­vice is avail­able on the toll free num­ber 1800111363 or on a short code 1363 and op­er­a­tional 24x7 in a year of­fer­ing a “multi-lin­gual helpdesk” in the des­ig­nated lan­guages to pro­vide sup­port ser­vice in terms of pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to Travel & Tourism in In­dia to the do­mes­tic and In­ter­na­tional tourists and to as­sist the call­ers with ad­vice on ac­tion to be taken dur­ing times of dis­tress while trav­el­ling in In­dia and if need be alert the con­cerned au­thor­i­ties. • All the Chief Min­is­ters of the State Gov­ern­ments and Ad­min­is­tra­tors of UTs have been asked to take im­me­di­ate ef­fec­tive steps for en­sur­ing a con­ducive and friendly en­vi­ron­ment for all tourists and also re­quested 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, if any.

• The Na­tional Tourism Min­is­ters’ Con­fer­ence con­vened on 21st Au­gust, 2014 in New Delhi re­solved that the De­part­ments of Tourism of all States and UTs will work for en­sur­ing the safety and se­cu­rity of tourists, es­pe­cially women.

• Adop­tion of code of con­duct by the In­dian travel and tourism in­dus­try for Safe and Hon­ourable 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. This in­for­ma­tion was given by Min­is­ter of State for Cul­ture and Tourism (In­de­pen­dent Charge) Dr. Ma­hesh Sharma in a writ­ten re­ply in Ra­jya Sabha

Devel­op­ment of Tourism in Is­lands

Niti Aayog has in­formed that they have taken up an ini­tia­tive for prepa­ra­tion of a Con­cept Devel­op­ment Plan and de­tailed Mas­ter Plans for Holis­tic devel­op­ment of 10 Is­lands in An­daman & Ni­co­bar as well as Lak­shad­weep Is­lands. An­daman & Ni­co­bar Ad­min­is­tra­tion has for­mu­lated a “Tourism Pol­icy” in the year 2010 for devel­op­ment of tourism. Sim­i­larly, Lak­shad­weep Ad­min­is­tra­tion has no­ti­fied Lak­shad­weep Tourism Pol­icy-2016, which en­vis­ages for holis­tic devel­op­ment of tourism in the en­tire UT of Lak­shad­weep Is­lands. Lak­shad­weep Ad­min­is­tra­tion has in­formed that they are in the ad­vance stage of fi­nal­iz­ing the Guide­lines for es­tab­lish­ment of Eco-friendly Re­sort, Scuba div­ing Cen­tres etc. These guide­lines will en­able es­tab­lish­ment of tourism in­fra­struc­ture in all the tourist fo­cal is­lands of Lak­shad­weep through Pub­lic as well as Pri­vate In­vest­ment and Pub­lic Pri­vate Part­ner­ship (PPP) mode. A Re­quest for Qual­i­fi­ca­tion (RFQ)cum-Re­quest for Pro­posal (RFP) doc­u­ment has been pre­pared and up­loaded on the web­site of NITI Aayog for en­gage­ment of a suit­able con­sul­tant to fa­cil­i­tate prepa­ra­tion of Con­cept Devel­op­ment Plan and De­tailed Mas­ter Plans for five An­daman & Ni­co­bar Is­lands as well as five Lak­shad­weep Is­lands. The Ad­min­is­tra­tion of An­daman & Ni­co­bar Is­lands has es­tab­lished sep­a­rate Depart­ment “Direc­torate of Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment” for manag­ing dis­as­ters. A State Con­trol Room has also been es­tab­lished and func­tion­ing 24/7 x 365 days. The Emer­gency Op­er­a­tion Cen­tres are func­tion­ing in co­or­di­na­tion with all line de­part­ments/ stake­holder un­der the su­per­vi­sion and con­trol of State Emer­gency Op­er­a­tion Cen­tre with fine state of Art com­mu­ni­ca­tion link­age with sup­port of In­dian Na­tional Cen­tre for Ocean In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices, Hy­der­abad, In­dian Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Depart­ment, New Delhi, In­dian Space Re­search Or­gan­i­sa­tion (ISRO), Min­istry of Home Af­fairs (MHA), Na­tional Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity (NDMA), Na­tional Dis­as­ter Re­sponse Force (NDRF). In Lak­shad­weep, the In­te­grated Is­land Man­age­ment Plan (IIMP) has taken care of the pro­tec­tion in the event of nat­u­ral calami­ties. At present, SPORTS (So­ci­ety for Pro­mo­tion of Na­ture Tourism & Sports), the Gov­ern­ment agency of Union Ter­ri­tory of Lak­shad­weep, em­ploys trib­als for run­ning tourism and the UT Depart­ment of Tourism is im­part­ing train­ing to them in tourism re­lated field. The An­daman & Ni­co­bar Ad­min­is­tra­tion have in­formed that tribal ar­eas are not open for tourism in An­daman & Ni­co­bar Is­lands. This in­for­ma­tion was given by Min­is­ter of State for Cul­ture and Tourism (In­de­pen­dent Charge) Dr. Ma­hesh Sharma in a writ­ten re­ply in Lok Sabha to­day.

Pro­mo­tion of Vil­lage Tourism

The Min­istry of Tourism has launched

Swadesh Dar­shan Scheme in 201415 for In­te­grated Devel­op­ment of Theme-Based Tourist Cir­cuits in the coun­try. Ru­ral Cir­cuit is one of the thirteen the­matic cir­cuits iden­ti­fied for devel­op­ment un­der the scheme. Devel­op­ment and pro­mo­tion of tourism in­fra­struc­ture is pri­mar­ily un­der­taken by the State Gov­ern­ments/ UTs. How­ever, Min­istry of Tourism pro­vides Cen­tral Fi­nan­cial As­sis­tance for projects which are iden­ti­fied in con­sul­ta­tions with the State Gov­ern­ments/UTs. The projects are sanc­tioned sub­ject to avail­abil­ity of funds, sub­mis­sion of suit­able de­tailed project re­ports, ad­her­ence to scheme guide­lines and uti­liza­tion of funds re­leased ear­lier. No project has been sanc­tioned un­der the Ru­ral Cir­cuit theme of Swadesh Dar­shan Scheme till date.

5th In­ter­na­tional Tourism Mart In­au­gu­rated in Im­phal, Ma­nipur

The 5th In­ter­na­tional Tourism Mart (ITM) was in­au­gu­rated by the Chief Min­is­ter of Ma­nipur Shri Okram Ibobi Singh in pres­ence of Union Tourism Sec­re­tary Shri Vinod Zut­shi in Im­phal Ma­nipur, to­day. The ITM is or­ga­nized by the Union Min­istry of Tourism in as­so­ci­a­tion with the North East­ern States and the state of West Ben­gal. Inau­gu­rat­ing the Mart, the Chief Min­is­ter of Ma­nipur Shri Okram Ibobi Singh ex­pressed the In­ter­na­tional Tourism Mart would pro­vide a good plat­form to pro­mote tourism in the State of Ma­nipur be­sides the other neigh­bour­ing states in the re­gion. He fur­ther added that tim­ing the ITM dur­ing the 10 day long San­gai Fes­ti­val Or­gan­ised by the State Gov­ern­ment of Ma­nipur brings out an op­por­tu­nity to show­case the var­ied cul­tural and nat­u­ral heritage of the State. He also stated that this is the first ever time that the State had seen pres­ence of such a large pres­ence of tourism stake­hold­ers from abroad which will lay the foun­da­tion for pro­mo­tion of tourism in the State. He also stressed on the need for de­vel­op­ing air con­nec­tiv­ity to the state es­pe­cially bring­ing in In­ter­na­tional flights to Im­phal. De­liv­er­ing the spe­cial ad­dress, the Union Tourism Sec­re­tary Shri Vinod Zut­shi af­firmed the com­mit­ment of the Min­istry of Tourism in de­vel­op­ing and pro­mot­ing the tourism in the north east re­gion. He touched upon the var­i­ous ini­tia­tives of the Min­istry of Tourism in de­vel­op­ing and pro­mot­ing the tourism in­fra­struc­ture in the North East Re­gion. He said that for North East­ern States, the Min­istry has sanc­tioned 12 projects worth Rs. 1070.07 Crores cov­er­ing all the 8 states un­der its flag­ship scheme of Swadesh Dar­shan. Ac­knowl­edg­ing the sup­port ex­tended by Gov­ern­ment of Ma­nipur, the host State of this year’s ITM 2016 and the roles of other participating State Gov­ern­ments, Shri Vinod Zutsh urged all the states in the North East re­gion of the coun­try to syn­er­gise their ef­forts for in­te­grated and holis­tic devel­op­ment and pro­mo­tion in the re­gion This 5th In­ter­na­tional Tourism Mart 2016, spread over three days is see­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion of 48 in­ter­na­tional del­e­gates com­pris­ing of tour op­er­a­tors and me­dia per­sons from del­e­gates from Aus­tralia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Brunei, Cam­bo­dia, Canada, Ger­many, In­done­sia, Ire­land, Italy, Ja­pan, Kenya, Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myan­mar, Nether­lands, New Zealand, Oman, Philip­pines, Rus­sia, South Africa, Sin­ga­pore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thai­land, U A E, UK and USA. This mart also has par­tic­i­pa­tion of 80 tour op­er­a­tors from eight north east­ern States and West Ben­gal be­sides do­mes­tic buy­ers (tour op­er­a­tors) from dif­fer­ent re­gions of the coun­try. The State Tourism De­part­ments of eight north east­ern states and West Ben­gal have put up colour­ful ex­hi­bi­tions at the mart venue which was in­au­gu­rated by the Chief Min­is­ter of Ma­nipur and the Union Tourism Sec­re­tary. These States are also high­light­ing their rich and var­ied cul­ture and dis­tinct cuisines.

Chief Min­is­ter of Ma­nipur Shri Okram Ibobi Singh

Dr. Ma­hesh Sharma, Min­is­ter of State for Cul­ture and Tourism (In­de­pen­dent Charge)

Vinod Zut­shi, IAS Sec­tre­tary Min­istry of Tourism, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia

5th In­ter­na­tional Tourism Mart In­au­gu­rated in Im­phal, Ma­nipur

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