Travel trade to play a proactive role
Dr Lalit K Panwar, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, talks about joining hands with the travel trade and state governments. He says we cannot have a Swachh Bharat without neat and clean airports, bus stands, railway stations, heritage m
With the Prime Minister talking about Indian tourism at every platform, what is the MOT focussing on to develop tourism?
Since the Government of India has given very high priority to tourism, we, at the MOT, would try our best to join hands with the travel trade and captains of the tourism industry, and take Indian tourism to new heights and ensure that tourism plays a key role in the growth of the Indian economy.
Will we also see the Ministry launching any new initiatives?
We will be launching some new initiatives where the stakeholders, especially the travel trade, play a more proactive role. Cooperation should be multi-pronged in almost every sector – marketing, publicity, human resources, destination management, CSR for maintaining monuments and for creating tourism service facilities. This is a field which is wide open, and we in the ministry believe that government efforts have to be in collaboration with the private sector, the public sector and the public at large.
The Tourist Visa-on-Arrival facility enabled by Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) for 43 countries was rolled out in Delhi last month. Your thoughts…
It's a major decision of the Government of India. It conveys the message of how important the sector is and it augurs well for the industry. It is a paradigm shift for the tourism industry, and it'll take the number of foreign tourists coming to India to greater heights. Depending upon how it is received, we'll request the government to increase this from 43 to many more countries.
How does the MOT look to work with the state governments to help them develop tourism?
We, at the MOT, work in collaboration with state governments, and we look to promote
them at various platforms. Having realised the potential of tourism, the states are now very focussed on the growth of the tourism industry. It's a joint venture, we are a federal polity and the union and the state governments have to join hands for the promotion of tourism.
What is the kind of cooperation that you seek from state governments?
We would like to request the state governments to help in the maintenance and management of tourist spots and heritage monuments, so that these places are cleaner, neater and visitor-friendly. Under the overall concept of the Prime Minister’s programme of Swachh Bharat, we also should have some vertical dealing with the tourism sector. We cannot have a Swachh Bharat without neat and clean airports, bus stands, railway stations, heritage monuments and tourist sites.