Herald­ing a tourism revo­lu­tion

The Min­istry at­tempts to re-launch it­self on Good Gov­er­nance Day. It has launched an e-por­tal of the Cul­ture Min­istry—Swacch Bharat - Swacch Smarak; Wel­come Cards for for­eign tourists; In­cred­i­ble In­dia In­fo­line Ser­vice; E-tick­et­ing for Taj Ma­hal and Hu­may

TravTalk - India - - Trav Talk - MEGHA PAUL

In a path-break­ing ini­tia­tive, Dr Ma­hesh Sharma, Min­is­ter of State with In­de­pen­dent Charge for Tourism & Cul­ture and Min­is­ter for Civil Avi­a­tion, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia has re­cently launched the 24-hour Tourist In­fo­line ser­vice. The bi-lin­gual helpline num­ber 1800-111-363 will be avail­able in English and Hindi cur­rently. Giv­ing more in­for­ma­tion about the de­velop- ment, he said, “There was a need for the all-In­dia helpline num­ber and the min­istry was keen to pro­vide the same in the back­drop of ha­rass­ment and fleec­ing of tourists at the hands of touts and other un­scrupu­lous el­e­ments. The helpline ser­vice is be­ing op­er­a­tional in two lan­guages Hindi and English to begin with. Go­ing for­ward, the ser­vice will be avail­able in 12 other for­eign lan­guages, in­clud­ing Rus­sian, Ger­man, French and Span­ish.” Dr Sharma was speak­ing af­ter an­nounc­ing a slew of ini­tia­tives re­lated to the Union Min­istries of Tourism and Cul­ture in Delhi as part of the

Good Gov­er­nance Day cel­e­bra­tions of the gov­ern­ment. A tourist (do­mes­tic/in­bound) can call the num­ber from any­where now if he or she wants to lodge any com­plaint or know about any par­tic­u­lar tourism site, he added.

In a ma­jor step at tourist fa­cil­i­ta­tion, the Min­istry has also launched a Wel­come Card, a first of its kind, for over­seas tourists. “As part of up­grad­ing se­cu­rity for for­eign tourists to In­dia, they will be pro­vided with Wel­come Cards with con­tact ad­dresses of In­dia Tourism of­fices and the con­tact per­sons. A set of eight Wel­come Cards have been launched. Th­ese Cards will be of­fered through nine air­ports in the coun­try,” he re­marked.

The Min­is­ter also launched an e-por­tal of the Cul­ture Min­istry – Swacch Bharat Swacch Smarak (Clean In­dia-Clean Mon­u­ments) and etick­et­ing for Taj Ma­hal and Hu­mayun’s Tomb. The fa­cil­ity will be ex­tended to all tick­eted mon­u­ments in a phased man­ner. Dr. Sharma also in­au­gu­rated the In­cred­i­ble In­dia Cal­en­dar 2015. The other ma­jor ini­tia­tives which were launched by the Min­is­ter in­cluded book­let on Bad­hte Kadam-Hu­nar Se Roz­gar Tak, Swachh Bharat Swachh Pak­wan (Hu­nar Zayka), Mega Project Des­ti­na­tion Devel­op­ment of Gwalior, Braille Book on Delhi mon­u­ments and Adarsh Smarak pro­gramme in which 25 mon­u­ments will be de­vel­oped as model mon­u­ments.

Ac­cord­ing to Dr. Sharma, with th­ese new ini­tia­tives, an at­tempt has been ini­ti­ated by the Min­istry to re­launch tourism and take In­dia’s rich cul­tural her­itage to all cor­ners of the world. The Min­is­ter said that dur­ing the pe­riod Jan­uary- Novem­ber, 2014, In­dia re­ceived a to­tal of 6.8 lakh vis­i­tors. This is the high­est num­ber of vis­i­tors re­ceived till Novem­ber in any year dur­ing the last decade, also show­ing a com­mend­able in­crease of 7.1 per cent over the pre­vi­ous year.

L to R– Usha Sharma, Ad­di­tional Direc­tor Gen­eral, Min­istry of Tourism, Dr Lalit K Pan­war, Sec­re­tary - Tourism, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia; Dr Ma­hesh Sharma; Ravin­dra Singh, Sec­re­tary - Cul­ture, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia; and Dr Rakesh Te­wari, Direc­tor Gen­eral, ASI...

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