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At 3-day event, India sets goal: world leader in tourism by 2047

The ‘Dharamshala Declaration 2022’ was released at the end of the three-day national conference on tourism attended by ministers from 12 states, besides Governors, UT administrators and central government officials.

DharamshalaUnion Tourism and Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy called on states to start work on “a war footing” by establishing tourism clubs. (file)

Recovery to the pre-pandemic level by 2024, $250 billion contribution to the GDP by 2030, and world leader by 2047. The Centre on Tuesday unveiled an ambitious plan for the tourism sector, with a declaration that includes a long-term revenue goal of $1 trillion by 2047, when the country turns 100.

The ‘Dharamshala Declaration 2022’ was released at the end of the three-day national conference on tourism attended by ministers from 12 states, besides Governors, UT administrators and central government officials.

As the conference ended, Union Tourism and Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy called on states to start work on “a war footing” by establishing tourism clubs.

“Just like the NSS and NCC, we need to work on making Yuva Tourism clubs at district and mandal levels,” he said, adding private players can also be involved in special cases, besides utilisation of the PM Gati Shakti initiative.

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At the event, officials said while tourism in most states will recover to the pre-pandemic level by mid-24, especially once foreign travellers start arriving, the numbers were already up in J&K, Uttarakhand and Goa.

J&K, they said, saw 1.42 crore tourists, including 11,000 foreigners, this year till August. The focus now is on promoting destinations beyond Srinagar and Gulmarg (75 off-beat sites have already been selected), besides a renewed push for projecting the Valley as an ideal filming destination.

“We have approved 160 film shoots this year, and opened up most of the areas for shoots, even going up till Rajouri, which is close to the Line of Control,” said an official, adding that they have also announced incentives for films where more than 50 per cent shoot is done in the UT.

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West Bengal tourism secretary Saumitra Mohan, who spoke at a session discussing the prospects of medical tourism in the country, said that besides getting medical tourists, the state is also focussing on cultural tourism.

“With Durga Puja getting a place on UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage, we have made a provision for puja passes for foreign travellers, to give them quick access to the pandals, skipping long queues,” he said.

VISTOR-FRIENDLY REFORMS

Kerala is also seeing a revival of tourism, but as of now, it is mostly driven by domestic tourists, said an official from the state. “There is a huge jump in domestic travellers and those from within the state, in the wake of the pandemic and an increased demand for wellness tourism,” the official said.

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In terms of foreign tourist arrivals, the Gulf countries, the UK, the US and Germany remain the top source markets. “The trend hasn’t changed, even as the numbers have come down,” the official said.

On this front, the Centre announced that several visa reforms will be undertaken, while immigration will also be made more visitor-friendly.

Tamil Nadu pitched itself as a destination for medical tourism, with the state getting 40 percent of all medical tourists coming to India. “Chennai, Vellore and Coimbatore get the maximum number of such visitors from countries in the Middle East, the UK, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka,” said an official.

First published on: 20-09-2022 at 10:28:03 pm
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