Tourism has been a major engine of economic growth and an important source of foreign exchange earnings in many countries including India. It has great capacity to create large scale employment of diverse kind – from the most specialised to the unskilled and hence can play a major role in creation of additional employment opportunities. It can also play an important role in achieving growth with equity. It has the main objective of increasing and facilitating tourism in India. Augmenting tourism infrastructure, easing of visa regime, assurance of quality standards in services of tourism service providers, etc. are some of the responsibilities of the Ministry.
India’s rank in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), 2017 has shown a 25 places jump from 2013. Rank of India in TTCI Report of 2017 was 40th as compared to 52nd in 2015 and 65th in 2013.
Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during the period January-November 2017 were 90.01 lakh with a growth of 15.6 per cent over same period of the previous year, compared to FTAs of 77.83 lakh with a growth of 9.4 per cent in January- November, 2016 over January- November, 2015.
During January-November 2017, a total of 14.57 lakh foreign tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 9.17 lakh during January-November 2016, registering a growth of 58.8 per cent.
Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) during the period January-November 2017 were Rs.1,60,865 Crore with a growth of 16.9 per cent over same period of previous year. Whereas, the FEEs during January-November 2016 were Rs.1,37,588 Crore with a growth of 13.7 per cent over January- November, 2015.
During 2016, the number of domestic tourist visits to the States/UTs was 1613.6 million as compared to 1432.0 million in 2015 showing double digit growth of 12.7 per cent in 2016 over 2015.
Development of tourism infrastructure is being given priority to provide a better tourism experience to the tourists. Theme based circuits are being developed under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme spanning the entire country. A total number of 11 projects have been sanctioned during 2017-18 for a total amount of Rs.824.80 Crore. With this the total number of 67 projects have been sanctioned till date for an amount of Rs.5648.71 Crore under this Scheme.
Holistic development of identified pilgrimage destinations is being undertaken under the ‘National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive’ (PRASHAD) Scheme. A total number of three projects have been sanctioned during 2017-18 for a total amount of Rs.98.84 Crore. A total number of 21 projects have been sanctioned till date for an amount of Rs.587.29 Crore under this Scheme.
Ministry of Tourism is according priority for holistic development of tourism destinations into world class destinations using a cluster approach including development of infrastructure, amenities, interpretation centres and skill development by achieving synergy and convergence with other Central Ministries, State Governments and Industry Stakeholders. As a step in this direction, Ministry of Tourism has recently launched the ‘Adopt A Heritage’ project. Heritage sites are being offered for adoption by the public sector, private sector and individuals to become ‘Monument Mitras’ for developing amenities and facilities at these sites under this programme.
Creation of ‘Special Tourism Zones’ anchored on Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) in partnership with the States was announced in the Budget for 2017-18. Ministry of Tourism has formulated the guidelines for implementation of the new scheme in consultation with the State Governments and Private Sector and is in the process of completing other formalities before launching the scheme. Creation of Special Tourism Zones would lead to overall development of the areas and offer diverse tourism experiences which would help in creating livelihood and improve standards of local communities living in those areas.
Paryatan Parv was organised in October, 2017 covering 31 States and Union Territories. The main objective of the event was to focus on the benefits of tourism, showcasing the cultural diversity of the country and reinforcing the principle of “Tourism for All”. The event included cultural performances, food festivals, tourism exhibitions, displays of handicrafts & handlooms, yoga sessions, tourism & heritage walks, tourism related competitions for students & public, excursions trips to tourist sites, sensitisation & awareness programmes, seminars & workshops etc.
The Ministry of Tourism, along with the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports in collaboration with the Govt. of Gujarat organised the “National Conference of Central & State/UTs Ministers and Secretaries of Tourism, Culture, Youth Affairs & Sports” at Dhordo, Rann of Kutch in January 2017. The Inaugural Session of the Conference was addressed by the Prime Minister, through Video Conferencing.
MoT was designated as the nodal Ministry for the Bharat Parv event organized by the Government of India at Red Fort, Delhi from January 26-31 2017, as part of the Republic Day Celebrations. The event included a display of Republic Day Parade tableaux, performances by the Armed Forces Bands, Food Festival, Crafts Mela and Cultural Performances from different regions of the country.
MoT launched “Incredible India 2.0 Campaign” which marks a shift from the present generic promotions being undertaken across the world, to market specific promotional plans and product specific creatives, with greater focus on digital presence and social media. The Incredible India 2.0 Campaign is being released in the prime existing markets as well as important potential markets. Niche tourism products like Heritage Tourism, Adventure Tourism, Cruise Tourism, Rural Tourism, Wellness & Medical Tourism, MICE, Golf, etc. are being promoted through the Incredible India 2.0 Campaign.
MoT as part of its Rail Tourism Policy is collaborating with MoR for manufacturing of three glass to coaches to be deployed on scenic rail routes of the country. These glass top coaches are fitted with extra wide comfortable seats, wide windows, single observation window at one end, glass roof, rotatable seats, automated sliding doors, mini pantry and wider body side door. Two glass top coaches were launched in 2017 on the Vishakhapatnam – Araku Valley and Dadar to Madgaon route. The third glass top coach is being refurbished to make it suitable for plying on the Qazigund - Baramullah route in Jammu and Kashmir.