[Essay] Tourism: Can this be the next big things for India?
India is a country known for its lavish treatment to all visitors, no matter where they come from. Its visitor-friendly traditions, varied life styles and cultural heritage and colourful fairs and festivals held abiding attractions for the tourists. The other attractions include beautiful beaches, forests and wild life and landscapes for eco-tourism; snow, river and mountain peaks for adventure tourism; technological parks and science museums for science tourism; centres of pilgrimage for spiritual tourism; heritage, trains and hotels for heritage tourism. Yoga, ayurveda and natural health resorts and hill stations also attract tourists.Tourism is not only a growth engine but also an employment generator.
Growing recognition of tourism
A growing recognition of tourism’s contribution to employment and economic growth, the availability of better infrastructure, focused marketing and promotion efforts, liberalization of air transport, the growth of online travel portals, growing
intra- regional cooperation and more effective public private partnerships are seen as key drivers for tourism in the next decade.
More than half of the Ministry of Tourism’s Plan budget is channelized for funding the development of destinations, circuits, mega projects as well as rural tourism infrastructure projects.
The ministry also ensured that 10% and 2.5% of its total annual plan outlay for 2013–14 went to tourism projects in the Northeastern region and tribal areas, respectively.
There is a renewed focus on skill development in the travel and tourism sector – 21 government-run hotel management and catering technology institutes and 14 food craft institutes have been established to impart specialized training in hoteliering and catering.
The availability of the Visa On Arrival facility significantly influences tourists’ travel plans to any country. During 2013, a total number of 20,294 Visas on Arrival were issued as compared to 16,084 Visas on Arrival during the corresponding period in 2012 , which amounts to a growth of 26%.
The launch of several branding and marketing initiatives by the Government of India such as Incredible India! and Athiti Devo Bhava provides a focused impetus to growth.
Recently, the Indian government has also released a fresh category of visa – the medical visa or M visa, to encourage medical tourism in India.
ROLE OF THE GOVERNMENT
The role of the Government in tourism development has been redefined from that of a regulator to that of a catalyst. Apart from marketing and promotion, the focus of tourism development plans is now on integrated development of enabling infrastructure through effective partnership with various stakeholders.
INITIATIVES BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR TOURISM PROMOTION
‘Hunar se Rozgar’ Programme
A special initiative was launched in 2009-10 for the creation of employable skills among youth belonging to economically weaker sections of the society in the age group of 18-25 years (upper age limit raised to 28 years in November, 2010) with the basic objective to reduce the skill gap affecting the hospitality and tourism sector and to ensure the spread of economic benefit of tourism to the poor.
Visa on Arrival (VoA)
Considering the importance of Visa facilities in enhancing tourist inflow, the facility of „Long Term Tourist Visas‟ of five years duration with multiple entry, carrying a stipulation of 90 days for each visit, has been introduced on a pilot basis for the nationals of the 18 selected countries.
- 100% FDI is allowed under the automatic route in tourism and hospitality, subject to applicable regulations and laws.
- 100% FDI allowed in tourism construction projects, including the development of hotels, resorts and recreational facilities.
INCENTIVES FROM THE MINISTRY OF TOURISM
Assistance in large revenue-generating projects.
Support to Public Private Partnerships in infrastructure development such as viability gap funding.
Schemes for capacity-building of service providers.
India’s tourism industry is experiencing a strong period of growth, driven by the burgeoning Indian middle class, growth in high spending foreign tourists, and coordinated government campaigns to promote tourism in India’.India’s governmental bodies have also made a significant impact in tourism by requiring that each and every state of India have a corporation to administer support issues related to tourism.
Hence, we can say India is trying to grow its peripheral vision apart from various Industry to tourism Industry which also income generating and also being a part of those league of nation who have better tourism infrastructure.