Government think-tank NITI Aayog Wednesday said the focus of the ministry dealing with travel, tourism and hospitality should be to increase India’s share in global international tourist arrivals from 1.18 per cent to 3 per cent in the next five years. The NITI Aayog, which unveiled a comprehensive national Strategy for New India, defining clear objectives for 2022-23, said the sector should strive to increase the number of foreign tourist arrivals from 8.8 million to 12 million.
“Double the number of domestic tourist visits, from 1,614 million in 2016 to 3,200 million visits,” it said in its report ‘Strategy for New India @ 75’. It also said the government should work towards developing tourism infrastructure.
“Tourism infrastructure projects, viz, hotels, resorts, equipment, parks etc, having a project cost cost more than Rs 1 crore should be notified as ‘infrastructure’ to enable promoters to avail loans on a priority basis,” the NITI Aayog said. Conservation and development of all heritage sites should be undertaken and completed through either government funding or through NGOs/Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, it suggested.
The Ministry of Tourism’s Swadesh Darshan and the National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) schemes are already undertaking the development or maintenance of heritage sites. The number of projects sanctioned under this scheme should be increased and their implementation accelerated, it said.
The ministry, the report said, should also increase domestic tourist traffic by upgrading existing infrastructure and leasing out the maintenance of such infrastructure to private players. “New destinations can be developed around the metros using the PPP model. Improve flight connectivity to tourist destinations through the timely implementation of the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s Regional Connectivity Scheme – UDAN (RCS-UDAN). Larger cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai should be converted into efficient and seamless transit hubs,” it said.