Tourism Ministry to Shed Negative Insight of India Among Global TouristsAugust 09, 2019 17:42
(Image source from: The Hindu Business Line)
To improve visiting tourist’s experience in India, Culture and Tourists Minister of India Prahlad Patel is simplifying visa norms, making signages at sites available in multiple foreign languages, and streamlining licensing of tour and travel operators and government-authorized shops.
In regard to Jammu and Kashmir, Patel said the hill state will continue to remain a focus area, like other Himalayan states, for the ministry’s tourism promotion activities.
The tourism ministry has also sought feedback on experiences and concerns raised by their tourists when they visit India from seven major countries’ ambassadors to improve India’s perception in the eyes of foreign tourists visiting the country.
“The entire effort is to better the tourist experience so that the perception of India as a tourist destination improves,” a ministry official said.
The ministry has also issued proposals to reduce GST (Goods Service Tax) on tourism products such as hotels and to reduce visa fee during lean periods. The proposals will be implemented subject to approvals by the external affairs and finance ministries, according to a source.
In order to encourage more overseas visitors to visit India, earlier, the ministry submitted a plan to the prime minister’s office.
The Economic Survey painted a dim picture of the tourism sector in 2018-19 and said that growth in foreign tourists arrivals in 2018-19 declined from 14.2 percent in 2017-18 to 2.1 percent, while foreign exchange earnings from tourism for the corresponding period registered a steep decline from 20.6 percent in 2017-18 to -3.3 percent in 2018-19.
According to the Eco Survey, while outbound tourism increased in recent years - the number of Indians traveling overseas was 23.94 million in 2017 and grew at 9.5 percent.
Patel who encountered senior officials of the various state governments on Thursday is believed to have conveyed to them the need for coordination between the Centre and states over all these areas.
By Sowmya Sangam