New tourism minister says that the Indian government is aiming to increase tourist numbers

Published on : Thursday, September 21, 2017

New tourism ministerAccording to the Tourism Minister K.J. Alphons, the Indian government is looking for a dramatic increase in tourist figures, both foreign and domestic, so that it helps to earn more revenue and generate employment.

Alphons said, “The number of foreign tourist arrivals was 8.8 million in 2016. We want to increase it dramatically. We also want to increase the number of domestic tourists, which was around 150 million. The whole idea is that we want to generate revenues and be a huge contributor to the economy.”

According to the Tourism Ministry, in 2016, the foreign exchange earned through tourism was Rs. 154,146 crores and the sector provides direct and indirect employment to over 40 million people. It is a major contributor to the country’s GDP.

Alphons said, “We don’t want people to just come, see and go. We want them to stay, experience India, shop and spend money. We have a 5,000-year-old civilisation, one of the oldest in the world. What is exceptional in India is that, along with the civilisation, we also have a philosophy. It is not only brick and mortar. It is much, much beyond it. The kind of spiritual and philosophical depth that Indian civilisation has is unique.”

He added, “The entire thing is about marketing India, as we are an amazing, incredible and beautiful country. We just need to tell the world that we are a fantastic destination to visit. We want the whole world to come to India. They should come and feel the country and when they leave, they should say, ‘This was fantastic!’”

The minister said that better cleanliness and improved infrastructure are the chief focus areas of the government.

To quote the minister, “Infrastructure has to be improved dramatically. Cleanliness has to improve, footpaths must be built, manholes must be covered, drains must be covered, they should not be encroached. It should be a hugely pleasant experience to walk around the cities; only then will foreign tourists go shopping. I am interested in generating money, because if we generate money that will create employment. They should walk around, laze around and feel comfortable. And that comfort we should provide. That means we have to improve our infrastructure around tourist destinations dramatically.”

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