India will position itself as a “major tourism destination” during its yearlong Presidency of G20 with visa reforms and “ease of travel”, officials have said.
In his address on the last day of a three-day national conference of state tourism ministers hosted in Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh, Union Culture Minster G Kishan Reddy said the government will hoist national flag at tourist places, as he made an appeal to do the same to the states and other stakeholders.
The conference which ended on Tuesday was held during September 18-20 and was organised by the Ministry of Tourism to discuss tourism in the country.
Tourism-related aspects of the G20 leaders’ summit were also discussed.
India is expected to host over 200 G20 meetings during its yearlong Presidency of the influential group, which will culminate with an annual summit on September 9 and 10 next year.
India will assume the Presidency of the G20 for one year from December 1, 2022, to November 30, 2023.
Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh said India plans to position itself as a “major tourism destination” during its Presidency of G20.
“We plan to ensure due rigour, dedication, and showcase our cultural richness while welcoming the world to our nation.
“We plan to bring in necessary interventions including visa reforms, ease of travel, traveller-friendly immigration facilities at airports and openness to international travel,” the tourism ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
The conference saw participation of tourism ministers of 12 states — Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Haryana, Mizoram, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, and Himachal Pradesh.
Several seniors officials of the central government, including G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant and Member NITI Aayog V K Paul, also attended the event, the ministry said in a statement.
Reddy, who also holds the portfolio of tourism, said such conferences will be organised from time to time for states to learn from one another, and hoped the exercise will give results very soon.
He said the states too must organise such conferences at their level with district officers and stakeholders to improve and promote tourism destinations.
Reddy said the Yuva Tourism Clubs were important and can become a “game-changer for the sector.” The Union tourism secretary said India will “play a pivotal role” in contributing towards global tourism recovery, driven mainly through domestic tourism.
All major tourism indices have started showing signs of recovery towards the pre-pandemic levels, such as domestic air passenger traffic, hotel occupancy, and tourist footfalls, he said.
The National Tourism Policy has been drafted with a holistic vision and strategy to revive India’s tourism sector and targets to achieve USD 1 trillion by the sector in 2047, an official statement said.
Against this backdrop, the government will continue to support MSMEs in tourism and capitalise on the employment generation potential in the sector.
Various tourism ministry schemes that are already in operation will be bolstered to revive the slump in tourist economy it suffered due the Covid-19 pandemic, the statement said.
At the end of the conference, the leaders adopted ‘Dharamshala Declaration’, which set out long and short-term goals for the country in the tourism sector.