The government wants to diversify the tourism product to make India a unique multi-attraction tourism destination which can meet the needs of all forms of tourism particularly rural , spiritual , eco , adventure and medical tourism.
Ministry of Tourism recently released the draft of a new tourism policy( NTP) which broadly aims to make India an attractive tourist destination so that the country’s share in world tourist arrivals rises to 2 percent by 2025 from the present 0.68 percent.
“India with vast cultural and religious heritage and varied natural attractions has immensed potential of growth in the tourism sector. Areas of Special Interest: Government would initiate and support special programmes and schemes for the development of tourism in North Eastern States, Himalayan region and Island States/UTs with a view to achieve overall economic development of the regions, and as part of the strategy for removing regional imbalances,” the draft policy said.
“Encouraging Panchayati Raj Institutions, local bodies, religious trusts, co-operatives, and other community level institutions to take up tourism promotion activities through the general rural development and employment generation programmes and specific rural tourism development schemes,” it said.
The tourism ministry has invited comments from the public on the proposed policy by May 10, 2015. The policy outlines the vision, mission and objectives in terms of delivery mechanisms, product development, infrastructure requirement and the skill development that are required to push the sector.
The main strength of Indian tourism at present is its cultural attractions, particularly, the large number of monuments and archaeological remains scattered through out the country, its art and artefacts and colourful fairs and festivals. The country is also endowed with a number of other tourist attractions and options including beach tourism; forests, wild life and land scapes for eco-tourism; snow, river and mountain peaks for adventure tourism; technological parks and science museums for science tourism; centres of pilgrimage for spiritual tourism; heritage trains and hotels for heritage tourism; etc.
North East also gets adequate attention. The seven States of the North East with beautiful landscapes, lush green forests, exotic wildlife, unique forms of art and culture and affable tribal societies have hitherto remained backward due to various reasons including poor infrastructure. These States alone offer enormous potential for the development of eco-tourism. At least ten percent of Plan funds of the Ministry will be used for the promotion of tourism in North East apart from taking up special projects and schemes for the development of the area.
The draft policy aims to strengthen India’s position as a welcoming, safe, secure, clean, hygienic and sustainable destination for both foreign and domestic tourists as well as enhance the brand image “Incredible India”. Inclusion of Tourism in the Concurrent List of the Constitution of India is yet another priority agenda for the union Tourism Ministry.