While destinations around the world cut tourism budgets, India is moving in the opposite direction, reported the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS), one of India’s news agencies.
New Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) The tourism ministry proposes to use additional funds it has been allotted under the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) for developing tourism infrastructure to attract more tourists to the country.
Under the 12th Five Year Plan, the Planning Commission has allotted the ministry Rs.21,500 crore, a four-fold increase from Rs.5,156 crore it was allotted under the 11th Plan.
Informing this to members of the consultative committee of parliament attached to the ministry, Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay said a substantial amount will be allocated for improvement of tourism infrastructure.
He said the money would also be used to develop human resource, build capacity and to promote Brand India.
Quoting the Planning Commission, the minister said it has projected a growth rate of 12 percent for the tourism sector during the 12th Plan.
He also said they are hoping for an increase of at least one percent in the country’s share in foreign tourist arrivals during this period.
An estimated 5.58 million tourists came to India last year, as compared to 5.11 million in 2009.
‘The number of foreign tourist arrivals and foreign tourists visit by the end of 12th Plan is estimated to be 11.24 million and 35.96 million, respectively,’ Sahay Thursday night told the members, who included both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members.
He said the number of domestic travellers is projected to be around 1,451.46 million.
Sahai said the Foreign Exchange earnings from tourism is also likely to increase from Rs.64,889 crore in 2010 to Rs.1,34,383 crore by the end of the 12th Plan.
‘The tourism sector is the largest service industry in the country. Its importance lies in being an instrument for economic development and employment generation, particularly in the remote parts of the country.
‘The contribution of tourism in the country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and total jobs was 5.92 percent and 9.24 percent during 2007-08. Total number of tourism jobs in the country during 2007-08 were 49.8 million,’ he added.
Also present were Minister of State for Tourism Sultan Ahmed, Tourism Secretary R.H. Khwaja and other senior officials.