India Knocks | 2018-11-12

Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways & Coal in the Government of India during the first ever India Tourism Mart stressed upon the fact that no country can attract international tourists until they feel it is clean and one can comfortably roam around. He specified how our incredible country can arguably become the best in the world




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After inaugurating Indian Tourism Mart, the maiden symposium of the travel and tourism sector organised by the Ministry of Tourism, GoI, Goyal labelled the areas of concern for tourists visiting the country. Generally, everyone asks, tourism in India is booming then why everyone is worried about the numbers? Goyal removed a few question marks while he identified the gaps and briefly elaborated his suggestive measures. “For several years now, the government has built up a very good reputation as an upright action-oriented entity and is now setting probably one of the most ambitious goals that tourism has ever seen in India before a 100 billion target in five years, for which I compliment the tourism minister, Alphons Kannanthanam. Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes that tourism can change the outlook of our entire country and his vision of promoting tourism is of preparing the fundamentals like basic infrastructure and cleanliness which can act as an enabler to look at the massive growth in tourism. I think unless the fundamentals are set right, we cannot compete with the kind of tourism that Italy, for instance, attracts or what France could attract. In fact, China that has emerged as a tourism destination only in the last 30 to 35 years has made rapid strides in tourism on the back of their infrastructure thrust. I also am happy to be a part of the connectivity mission that the government has fast-tracked in the last four years. As Minister of Railways, I am supporting the effort to connect remotest corners and parts of India with efficient transport modes, along with airlines, the roadways and the shipping routes.”



Visitors who are probably enchanted by the heritage, culture and cuisine of the country are simultaneously dispirited by its grungy streets and timeworn monuments. Goyal added, “Among all the infrastructure additions, the most crucial element which will help promote tourism in a big way is the cleanliness drive or the Swachhta Abhiyan that the government has embarked upon. No country can attract international tourists until they feel the country is clean and one can comfortably go around without garbage and muck littering their paths. Recently, we launched a 15-day Swachhta Pakhwada where different government and non-government organisations have come together to increase the awareness about cleanliness among school children and other stakeholders. The efforts that have been undertaken in the last four years to improve the sanitation issues is certainly going to be one of the defining features to promote tourism in a big way.”



While the tourism sector in India is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of more than 7.9 per cent till 2023, the opportunities, according to Goyal are endless. “Recently, PM Modi was speaking during a programme of how we can address the issue of language barrier to which he added that the language interpreters or translators may not be available at each and every point and insisted on creating an app where locals and tourists both can be provided assistance with different languages and translations of 100 commonly used sentences. It can be an excellent aid for an international tourist, which he may download even before he starts the journey and has that comfort and confidence to visit India.”




He added, “A thing I would like to flag off today is that a little more focus is needed for providing facilities and attracting high spending and high-quality tourists to India, when it comes to international tourist influx. I think the profile of international tourists coming to India needs to be studied a little bit more in detail, so we can attract the high-spending tourists and probably see how we can leverage the true natural beauty that our states possess. On the domestic tourism side, I think we have a huge amount of potential for sectors like religious, leisure, sports and more sectors alike. And it may be a good idea if we, along with the states and the central government, can work at handholding newer initiatives coming up in the country. So if you have an international company or even a domestic company wanting to set up a rafting facility, for instance, can we ensure that he doesn’t have to roam around places to get all licenses and permissions and the facilitation can be done through a transparent, competitive process, attracting people from all over the world to come and invest in creating infrastructure, which may help in providing more avenues to the tourists.”




India, a country that has been inspired by the principles of compassion which can be felt in the very texture of its values and culture, has openheartedly embraced the concept of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ where the world is considered to be one family and this is what makes our country unique from the others. A staunch follower of this concept, Goyal reciprocates Alphons’ vision of inviting the world to experience India in a true sense. He avers, “Let us provide that enabling environment and let us prepare India to invite tourists from all across the globe with a welcoming spirit of Atithi Devo Bhava. Let them all go back feeling that they have truly experienced an enchanting journey to India. I am confident that collectively all of us associated with the tourism industry will work as a team to make an achievable dream of 20 million tourists a reality by truly empowering every state, every city and every remotest part of the country to make India a preferred destination for tourists. Let us together become the enablers to make this happen.” 

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