This was stated at the the three-day National Conference of State Tourism Ministers at Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh which began on 18 September. The National Conference of State Tourism Ministers aims to bring in diverse viewpoints and perspectives from all the States and Union Territories of India on tourism development and growth and to create a direct dialogue with the States on Schemes, policies and steps being taken at a national level for overall tourism improvement in India.
The National Conference also aims to be a platform for sharing of best practices, successful projects, and tourism product opportunities. During the press conference MoS Tourism Ajay Bhatt and MoS Tourism Shripad Naik, Chairman FAITH Nakul Anand, DG Tourism G Kamala Vardhana Rao were also present. During the Press Conference, G. Kishan Reddy, Union Minister of Tourism, Culture and stated that in the past 75 years, India has become synonymous with tourism, spirituality, transformation, culture, and diversity.
Highlighting the slogan of ‘Vikas Bhi Virasat Bhi’ given by the Prime Minister, Kishan Reddy that after vast process of consultations and deliberations, the National Tourism Policy will be brought out before the Budget session. He also informed that various tourist circuits are being promoted and a new ‘Ambedkar Circuit’ shall soon be launched.
The Himalayan Circuit will also be promoted under the action plan for development of tourist circuits, G Kishan Reddy elaborated. The Union Tourism Minister further added that the National Conference of State Tourism Ministers is also important in the current context of India’s G20 presidency. G-20 will be used as a platform to showcase India’s tourism potential to the world, he disclosed.
Emphasising the importance of air connectivity G Kishan Reddy said that number of airports in the country has increased from 74 in 2014 to 140 now, and it is further proposed to increase number of airports to 220 by 2025. The financial assistance to tourism sector, which is the biggest sufferer due to Covid 19, continues to be extended upto 31st March, 2023 he said. The Tourism sector generated INR 16.91 lakh crore (USD 240 billion) or 9.2% of India’s GDP in 2018 and has supported around 42.67 million jobs or 8.1% of total employment.
A number of 76 projects have been sanctioned under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme in 30 States and UTs for building tourist infrastructure across various themes. The PRASHAD Scheme aims to strengthen the tourist facilities around spiritual locations, under which 39 projects have been sanctioned in 24 States.