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Year End Review-2018: Ministry of Tourism

Year End Review-2018: Ministry of Tourism

The Ministry of Tourism is the nodal agency to formulate national policies and programmes for the development and promotion of tourism. In the process, the Ministry consults and collaborates with other stakeholders in the sector including various Central Ministries/ agencies, the State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations and the representatives of the private sector. Tourism is a major engine of economic growth and an important source of foreign exchange earnings in many countries including India. It has a great capacity to create large scale employment of diverse kind – from the most specialized to the unskilled and hence can play a major role in creation of additional employment opportunities. It can also play an important role in achieving growth with equity. It has the main objective of increasing and facilitating tourism in India. Augmenting tourism infrastructure, easing of visa regime, assurance of quality standards in services of tourism service providers, etc. are some of the responsibilities of the Ministry.

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TOURISM STATISTICS:

  • Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during the period January-November 2018 were 93, 67, 424 as compared to 88, 67, 963 in January-November 2017 registering a growth of 5.6% over the same period.
  • During January- November 2018, a total of 20,61,511 tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 14,56,615 during January- November 2017, registering a growth of 41.5% over the same period.
  • Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) during the period January- October 2018 were Rs. 1,58,846 Crore as compared to Rs. 1,41,965 Crore in January- October 2017 registering a growth of 11.9% over the same period.
  • During 2017, the number of Domestic Tourist Visits to the States/UTs was 1652.5 million as compared to 1615.4 million in 2016 showing growth of 2.3% in 2017 over 2016.

DEVELOPMENT OF TOURISM INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Development of tourism infrastructure is being given priority to provide a better tourism experience to the tourists. Theme based circuits are being developed under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme spanning the entire country. A total number of 07 projects have been sanctioned during 2018-19 for a total amount of Rs.384.67 Crore. With this, a total number of 73 projects have been sanctioned till date for an amount of Rs.5873.99 Crore under this Scheme covering 30 States and Union Territories in the country.
  • Nine projects under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme have been inaugurated between August to December 2018 in the States of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Facilities like Tourist Facilitation Centers, Eco Log Huts, Sound and Light Show, Helipads, Cafeteria, Wayside Amenities, Nature Trails, Jetties, Boat club, Adventure Zones, Interpretation Centers, Water Sports, Craft Villages, Tribal Thematic Villages, Illumination etc. have been developed as part of the above projects.
  • Integrated development of identified pilgrimage destinations is being undertaken under the ‘National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive’ (PRASHAD) Scheme. One project has been sanctioned during 2018-19 for a total amount of Rs.39.24 Crore. A total number of 24 projects have been sanctioned till date for an amount of Rs.727.16 Crore under this Scheme.
  • Ministry of Tourism provided Central Financial Assistance for infrastructure development during 2018-19 to Cochin Port Trust and Mormugaon Port Trust.

‘ADOPT A HERITAGE’ PROJECT

  • Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) launched “Adopt a Heritage Project” to provide world class tourist facilities at the various natural/cultural heritage sites, monuments and other tourist sites.
  • The project plans to entrust heritage sites/monuments and other tourist sites to private sector companies, public sector companies and individuals for the development of various tourist amenities. MoUs have been signed for developing tourist amenities at the following sites:
  1. Area surrounding Gangotri Temple & Trail to Gaumukh, Uttarakhand
  2. Mt. Stok Kangri Trek, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir
  3. Red Fort, New Delhi
  4. Gandikota Fort, Andhra Pradesh
  5. Surajkund, Haryana
  6. Jantar Mantar, Delhi
  7. Qutub Minar, Delhi
  8. Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra
  9. Leh Palace, Jammu & Kashmir
  10. Hampi (Hazara Rama Temple), Karnataka

DEVELOPMENT OF ICONIC TOURIST SITES

  • Ministry of Tourism has identified 17 Sites in 12 Clusters for Development as Iconic Tourist Sites. The names of the sites identified for development as Iconic Tourist Sites are – Taj Mahal, Fathepur Sikri. Ajanta, Ellora, Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar, Red Fort, Colva Beach, Amer Fort, Somnath, Dholavira, Khajuraho, Hampi, Mahablipuram, Kaziranga, Kumarakom and Mahabodhi Temple. Master Plans are at the final stages of preparation.

BHARAT PARV

  • Ministry of Tourism organized Bharat Parv at Red Fort, Delhi from 26th to 31st January 2018, as part of the Republic Day Celebrations. The prime objective of organizing the event is to generate a patriotic mood, promote the rich cultural diversity of the country, to ensure wider participation of the general public and to popularize the concept of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’, ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ and ‘Tourism for All’. The major attractions at Bharat Parv were Republic Day Tableaux, Cultural Performances, Armed Forces Bands, Food and Craft stalls.

PARYATAN PARV

  • Ministry of Tourism in association with Central Ministries, State Governments/Union Territory Administrations etc. celebrated Paryatan Parv, 2018 at National Level. The Parv was celebrated from 16th to 27th September, 2018 during which more than 3200 activities in 32 States/UTs were organized to create awareness about the importance of Tourism.
  • The objective of Paryatan Parv, 2018 was to propagate the message of ‘Dekho Apna Desh’, with the aim to encourage Indians to visit various tourist destinations in the country and also to spread the message of ‘Tourism for All’. State pavilions, craft stalls, food stalls, cultural programmes, cookery demonstrations etc. were major attractions for visitors during the Parv.

INDIA TOURISM MART 2018

  • The First edition of the India Tourism Mart 2018 was organized by the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) with the support of the Ministry of Tourism and State Governments/Union Territory Administrations from 16th to 18th September, 2018 at Hotel Ashok, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. India Tourism Mart provided a platform to different tourism stakeholders for interacting and conducting business with foreign buyers.

INCREDIBLE INDIA WEBSITE

  • Ministry of Tourism launched the new Incredible India website on 14th June 2018. The website showcases India as a holistic destination, revolving around major experiences, such as, spirituality, heritage, adventure, culture, yoga, wellness and more. The website follows the trends and technologies of international standards with an aim to project India as a “must-visit” destination. The website has many useful features to make it more interactive and to provide a deeper engagement to the travellers visiting the website.

ONLINE LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

  • Ministry of Tourism launched an Online Learning Management System for creating skilled manpower to work as tourist facilitators. The initiative will enable the youth living in remotest part of the country to skill themselves and facilitate tourists on Pan India basis. The Online Learning Programme will also lead to creation of jobs and providing facilitators to tourists at reasonable cost. Incredible India Tourist Facilitator Certification currently has 3800+ enrolment across country.

INCREDIBLE INDIA MOBILE APP

  • Ministry of Tourism launched Incredible India Mobile App on 27th September, 2018. The Incredible India Mobile App showcases India as a holistic destination, revolving around major experiences, such as spirituality, heritage, adventure, culture, yoga, wellness and more. The mobile app has been designed keeping in mind the preferences of the modern traveler and follows the trends and technologies of international standards. The app has been equipped with features to assist the traveller in each phase of their journey to India.

INTERNATIONAL BUDDHIST CONCLAVE-2018

  • Ministry of Tourism organized the International Buddhist Conclave-2018 (IBC-2018) on the theme “Buddha Path—The Living Heritage” in collaboration with the State Governments of Maharashtra, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The Hon’ble President of India inaugurated the International Buddhist Conclave-2018 (IBC-2018) at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on 23rd August, 2018 at New Delhi. T
  • he event was followed by site visits to Ajanta (Maharashtra), Rajgir, Nalanda & Bodhgaya (Bihar) and Sarnath (Uttar Pradesh). Japan was the ‘Partner Country at IBC-2018. Panel discussion on ‘Role of Living Buddhist Heritage in the Contemporary Society’, B2B meetings between Foreign and Indian Tour Operators, Investors Summit and Presentations by Ministry of Tourism and State Governments were organized as part of the event. During the inaugural session of the Buddhist Conclave, the Ministry of Tourism launched its website http://www.landofbuddha.in and a new 60 second film showcasing the Buddhist sites in the country.

PROMOTION & PUBLICITY

  • Ministry of Tourism released Global Media Campaigns in overseas markets covering leading as well as potential source markets for Indian tourism. The campaigns were released in the electronic, online and print media, with greater focus on digital and social media and on use of thematic creatives to cater to different consumer preferences.
  • 5 Thematic promotional films were produced on Yoga, Wellness, Wildlife, Luxury and Cuisine and these were aired globally on television, social media and online portals. Destination promotional films were also produced on Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.
  • The 5 films and the Land of Buddha Film on social media received over 189 million views. All the films (5 films – Yoga, Cuisine, Wellness, Luxury & Wildlife) have been produced in English with voice – overs in 9 international languages (German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Arabic).
  • The films are also being aired on global television channels/Indian diaspora channels across the world including the language feeds of the channels.
  • Domestic Campaigns were released on different media including television, online portals and websites, outdoor digital, cinema houses, radio, airline boarding passes, railway tickets, etc. to promote the North East Region, Jammu & Kashmir, Swachhta at Tourist Sites, Yoga (to coincide with the International Day of Yoga), Iconic Sites, Statue of Unity as well as events organised by the Ministry like Bharat Parv and Paryatan Parv.
  • Active promotions were undertaken on the Social Media accounts of the Ministry of Tourism. Further, keeping in mind the importance of Social Media as an effective tool for destination branding and marketing, the Ministry organized a Social Media Key Influencers’ Campaign “The Great Indian Blog Train” in February 2018, involving bloggers from across the world, who were invited to travel to destinations in the country on the Luxury Trains operating in different States.  A total of 57 Bloggers from 23 countries including India travelled for a week on four luxury trains, i.e Palace on Wheels, Maharaja Express, Deccan Odyssey and Golden Chariot. The campaign generated widespread publicity for the luxury trains as well as the destination visited, by way of blogs, videos and photos published by the Bloggers on their experiences of their journey.

E-VISA

  • e-Visa has 5sub-categories i.e. e-Tourist visa, e-Business visa, e-Medical visa, e-Medical Attendant visa and e-Conference visa.
  • e-Visa is valid for entry through 26 designated Airports (i.e. Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Calicut, Chennai, Chandigarh, Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Madurai, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum, Varanasi & Vishakhapatnam) and 5 designated seaports (i.e. Cochin, Goa, Mangalore, Mumbai, Chennai).
  • At present the e-Visa Scheme is available to nationals of 166 countries.

LEGACY VINTAGE HOTEL

  • Ministry of Tourism has introduced the concept of Legacy Vintage Hotels to cover hotels constructed/built with materials from heritage properties/buildings (i.e. properties or buildings which were build/constructed/ erected prior to the year 1950), provided that at least 50% of the material used to construct/build the hotel is sourced from heritage properties or buildings. Such hotels will help recreate the ambience and atmosphere of the bygone era. Such hotels will be classified under 3 sub- categories namely Legacy Vintage (Basic), Legacy Vintage (Classic) and Legacy Vintage (Grand).

NATIONAL COUNCIL OF HOTEL MANAGEMENT & CATERING TECHNOLOGY 

  • During 2018-19, a total of 5,759 students of B.Sc. Programme, 121 students of M.Sc. Programme and 3,735 students of Diplomas and Craft Courses in Hospitality and Hotel Administration passed out from Institutes of Hotel Management and Food Craft Institutes affiliated with NCHMCT.

INDIAN INSTITUTE OF TRAVEL AND TOURISM MANAGEMENT

  • During 2018-19, a total of 330 students of MBA in Travel and Tourism Management passed out from the Indian Institute of Travel and Tourism Management.

INDIAN CULINARY INSTITUTE (ICI), NOIDA CAMPUS

  • The Indian Culinary Institute (ICI), Noida campus was inaugurated on 27th April, 2018 for starting culinary courses. This is in line with the commitment of creating specialized skilled manpower in the field of hospitality and posturing the research and development in Culinary Arts. The NOIDA campus of ICI will also have a state of the art “Indian Culinary Museum” where the rich historical and diversified culinary objects and other literature will be displayed. This will provide a unique platform for preserving the Indian culinary heritage. The campus and the building of ICI, NOIDA, having a built up area of 2,31,308 square feet, was developed and completed in time and it took 2 years to build it with world class infrastructure facilities.

INDIAN CULINARY INSTITUTE (ICI), TIRUPATI

  • The Indian Culinary Institute (ICI) campus, Tirupati was inaugurated on 24th September 2018. The Culinary Institute at Tirupati is spread in 14 acres of land and the project being completed at a total cost of Rs.97.92 Crore. The ICI Tirupati campus comprises of an academic block with state-of-art kitchens, labs and classrooms; an administrative block; commercial restaurant; culinary museum, executive guesthouse, VIP cottages, hostels for boys and girls and staff residences. The main objective of setting up of the Indian Culinary Institute (ICI) is to institutionalize a mechanism to support efforts intended to preserve, document, promote and disseminate information about Indian Cuisine, meet the sectoral requirement of specialists specific to Indian Cuisine, as also to promote ‘Cuisine’ as a Niche Tourism product.

SWACHH BHARAT MISSION

  • Ministry of Tourism observed ‘Swachhta Hi Sewa’ Campaign from 15th September, 2018 to 2nd October, 2018. Cleanliness activities were undertaken at various tourism sites across the country with active participation from local communities, stakeholders, regional offices of India tourism under the Ministry of Tourism and the State/UT Governments. Ministry of Tourism also celebrated ‘Swachhta Pakhwada’ on daily basis from 16th to 30th September, 2018. As part of this, activities were undertaken by the officials of the Ministry of Tourism, Institutes of Hotel Management and Institutes of Tourism & Travel Management at different sites/locations across the country. National level quiz and Essay competition on ‘Swachhta’ was organized for the students of Institute of Hotel Management (IHMs) and prizes were given away to the winners. Ministry of Tourism has undertaken the Swachhta Action Plan (SAP) for the year 2018-19 implemented by Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM) at 180 sites /places (540 activities) in selected 29 States/UTs all over the Country. The SAP activities involve awareness on cleanliness amongst tourists, school/college students and tourism stakeholders. These activities under SAP are also undertaken by Central and State IHMs across the country.

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Paryatan Parv: An occasion to further explore the rich diversity of India

Instead of going in for routine tourist places, it is high time Indians explored the nook and corners of our beautiful country; rather than staying at hotels, living with people to learn about the traditions and customs

*Nivedita Khandekar hhh.jpg

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in one of his recent ‘Mann ki Baat’ had urged the people to discover the wonders of #IncredibleIndia. Taking on the cue, the Ministry of Tourism has organised the ‘Paryatan Parv’, which is being touted as “a celebration of India’s rich tourist heritage”.

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The Union Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with other central ministries, various state governments and stakeholders is currently organising ‘Paryatan Parv’ across India from October 5-25, 2017 drawing focus on the benefits of tourism, showcasing our cultural diversity and reinforcing the principle of ‘Tourism for All’.

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It is a wonderful coincidence that the ‘Paryatan Parv’, a celebration in the festival loving country such as ours, is happening during the peak festive season, also a time when many people take out time to tour various parts of India. But for various reasons, people continue to visit the more popular, more exploited sites rather than exploring newer, lesser known places. Instead of going in for routine tourist places, it is high time Indians explored the nook and corners of our beautiful country; rather than staying at hotels, living with people to learn about the traditions and customs.

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Village in Ladakh before winters – Photo Courtesy: Nivedita Khandekar

The ‘Paryatan Parv’ seems to offer this opportunity. Two things from the comprehensive government plan that stood out for me are the interstate engagement matrix under the ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ scheme and the guidelines for CBSE affiliated schools to visit heritage monuments among other programmes for getting students interested in cultural and traditional diversity of India.

Photo Courtesy:  Nivedita Khandekar
Village in Ladakh before winters – Photo Courtesy: Nivedita Khandekar

The idea that school students should visit monuments is not a new one, albeit linking it with the paradigm of ‘tourism and studies’ gives it a new twist. Imagine a class learning about the conquest by Chhatrapati Shivaji sitting at a fort in Maharashtra? Or imagine, learning about what Akbar did sitting at the Agra fort? The heritage monuments are a treasure trove of information. They offer not just lessons in history but also in that era’s architecture and traditional practices. What better way to understand it than an actual visit?

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A trek in the Himalayas – Photo Courtesy: Nivedita Khandekar

India is lucky, it is endowed with more than 3500 monuments of national importance (that are taken care of by the Archaeological Survey of India) and almost 10,000 other monuments that are taken care of by different state governments.

Similarly, imagine, people from Kerala engaging with those from Himachal Pradesh. Or for that matter, people from Madhya Pradesh meeting and seeking to know more about those from Nagaland and Manipur. What a beautiful concept, if implemented well!! After all, didn’t Adi Shankaracharya formulate the concept of char dhams in four corners of India and envisaged people visiting 12 jyotirlingas in various parts of the country?

If not for pilgrimage, but for knowing the rich traditions and culture of our vast land, people should engage with those from other states, further the better. This is exactly what the Tourism Ministry through ‘Paryatan Parv’ can harp on – envisaging through this exchange that “the knowledge of the language, culture, traditions and practices of different states will lead to an enhanced understanding and bonding between one another, thereby strengthening the unity and integrity of India.”

Rising domestic tourism

‘Namaste!’ has been India’s identity across the world. India has attracted tourists from all over the world and not just now but since ages. While foreign tourists’ arrival brings in the much-needed foreign currency, and hence are given a priority, it is equally important to ensure domestic tourists are not neglected.

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Lohit River in Arunachal Pradesh – Photo Courtesy: Nivedita Khandekar

As per Tourism Ministry’s Annual Report for 2016-17, domestic tourism continues to be an important contributor for the tourism sector in India. As per the data furnished by the state/UT governments and other information available with the Ministry of Tourism, the domestic tourist visits during the year 2015 were 1432 million as compared to 1282.8 million in 2014, registering a growth of 11.63% over 2014.

This is a huge number as compared to the number of foreign tourist arrival in India (8.03 million) in the same time showing annual growth rate of 4.5 % over previous year. The stakeholders, including authorities, in the tourism sector will need to understand the rising trend in case of domestic tourism.

 

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For instance, from about 190.67 million domestic tourists in 1999 to about 1,431.97 million in 2015, the domestic tourism industry has undergone a sea change, seen a whopping 651.02% rise in just 16 years. Perhaps, keeping in mind all such things, the government has already initiated an exercise to formulate a comprehensive revised tourism policy by March 2018.

There was a time when people stepped out only for pilgrimage and tourism only meant luxury pursued by few moneyed people. Today, as more and more common men and women seek to step out and explore various parts of India, domestic tourism has spanned almost all fields beyond pilgrimages. This opens a positive opportunity for the government and all other stakeholders to further explore and exploit the rising sector.

Tourism infrastructure and livelihood

The elaborate planning by the Tourism Ministry and the complimentary programmes chalked out by other central ministries and state governments go on to show the sheer variety that is possible in tourism sector and how it can have an impact on almost all other ministries/fields – Education, Culture, Textiles, Development of North-East India, Rural Development and even Information & Broadcasting Ministry. Tourism needs stable infrastructure, tourism needs peaceful law and order situation and tourism needs an inviting host. In return, tourism gives much needed livelihood to local population and revenue to the government.

 

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A temple at the World Heritage Site of Khajuraho – Photo Courtesy: Nivedita Khandekar

 

India is known world over for its hospitality and in most parts of India, law and order situation is tourist-friendly. But apart from major metro cities and few of the places on tourist map, the tourism related infrastructure needs lots of improvement. Scores of smaller places first need to be identified for promotion of tourism, the last mile connectivity needs to be ensured, infrastructure for visiting and resident tourists needs to be developed. This includes availability of decent accommodation and food services. Many potential places across India remain oblivious to tourists only because one or more of the above factors do not work in their favour.

The tourism ministry has encouraged and developed a chain of B&B (Bed and Breakfast) homes across urban centres well. But it is now time to concentrate on ‘Home Stays’ in rural and semi-urban areas. Only such Home Stays can bring in sustainable tourism as against the big-ticket hotel industry that often leads to draining local natural resources. Plus, Home Stays are a better way to interact directly with the local population and to know about their traditions and culture. Home Stays will also improve livelihood opportunities for the locals rather than the hotel industry where profits are pocketed by outsiders.

‘Paryatan Parv’ can be a good opportunity to identify these weak links. Not just for this time slot, but for a better, sustainable future in tourism.

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*Nivedita Khandekar is an independent journalist based in Delhi. She writes on environmental and developmental issues.

 

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