National Tourism Advisory Council Meets

Hygiene and Cleanliness are Major Cause of Concern says Subodh Kant 

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Union Tourism Minister Shri Subodh Kant Sahai has said that lack of hygiene and cleanliness in India are a major cause of concern for domestic and international tourists. Chairing the meeting of the National Tourism Advisory Council held in New Delhi on 19th June, he said, to address this problem the Ministry of Tourism is launching a major cleanliness drive under Clean India Campaign (CCI) initiative. Shri Sahai said “ we want corporate houses, PSUs and banks to come forward and adopt important destinations to help keep them clean.

The CCI will also involve other Union Ministries, State and Local Governments, NGOs, students of schools, colleges, and other academic institutions. I am sure that the collective efforts of all the organizations will not only increase the sensitization level of our citizen, but will also bring about substantial improvement in cleanliness and hygiene at our destinations.

The Tourism Minister informed the meeting that tourism economy in India has been expanding over the years. Except for a fall in 2009 due to the global economic recession, the Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) to India have increased consistently. FTAs in India during 2011 were 6.29 million with a growth rate of 8.9% as compared to the FTAs of 5.78 million during 2010. This growth rate for India is much higher than the growth rate of 4.4% for the world during the same period. The first six months of 2012 too have also witnessed a growth of 7.8 % in FTAs.

Shri Sahai said domestic tourism too has been witnessing continuous growth. The number of domestic tourist visits increased to 740 million in 2010 as compared to 669 million in 2009, showing a growth of 10.7 %. This huge size of domestic tourism helps to sustain the Indian tourism industry even when there is negative growth in international travel. He said “We need to look at the domestic tourism segment more closely. The majority of the domestic travel is for pilgrimages. There is a need to enhance facilities at our major pilgrimage centers which receive a large number of visitors. If the growth of domestic tourism continues to grow at the rate seen in recent years, the number of domestic tourist visits in 2016, i.e. by end of 12th plan, will be 1450 million.” 

The Tourism Minister expressed the hope that targeted increase in the FTAs and the domestic tourists visits will take the count of FEE to be Rs.13,4383 Cr (US$ 30.3 BLN), which will result in the additional FEE of Rs. 69494 crore and will add up 77.5 MLN (direct and indirect) jobs in the Tourism Sector. He said “It is important that we maintain the quality of tourism facilities and services offered so that they are at par with the best in the world.

We must keep pace with changing trends and requirements of the overseas and domestic travelers, who are increasingly becoming more demanding. We can ill-afford to be satisfied with the growth of the tourism sector seen in the last decade. We have to improve our products, plan carefully, refine our marketing strategies and bolster our efforts for sustainable growth of this vital industry. The fact that India’s share in global tourist arrivals is a meager 0.6% shows that we have a long way to go.” 

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