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Focussed strategy needed?

In a recent meeting of state tourism ministers in New Delhi organized by the Ministry of Tourism (MoT), Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel rightly said that India’s Tourism cannot meet its set target without the active participation, cooperation and support from the states. As Tourism is in the concurrent list of the Constitution, the Centre does not have much say in the state’s matter. The Union Tourism Ministry has already been supporting states through marketing support as well as financial support to develop and strengthen tourism sector of the state.

Going by the historical trends of state’s performance on the tourism matters, we can easily say that tourism is not in the priority list of majority of states. Kerala is exception here. Few more states like Madhya Pradesh, Goa and Rajasthan are slightly more focused than others.

We also noticed that many states do not have a rational tourism policy. The fundamentals of the most of the tourism policy are the same while states need an exclusive and specific policy. And, even they have good policy; the implementation mechanism is too weak. Like, most of the states have given emphasis on Public Private Partnership model to invite investment in tourism sector. Result on the ground states that only few states have succeeded in getting private investments that too just to an extent. We have a successful Kerala Model of tourism but states are not eager to adopt this. There is a total lack of will power among states for tourism.

The fund released by the Ministry of Tourism under PRASHAD and Swadesh schemes to develop tourism infrastructure has not been utilized. The fund utilization by many states stands at 20% -30%.  This itself says about the importance given to tourism by states.  One of the reasons is that tourism does not matter for most of the states. Even they know that tourism can be an important growth engine for the state’s economy, states are not according much importance to tourism. Most of states do not have a clear vision for tourism. Some of the states do not even wish to have.

So, what should be the way forward? As Patel said that there is a need for collective effort to position India as a perfect tourism destination in the global market. He urged all Tourism Ministers to share their issues related to tourism development. We, at T3, believe that its high time states should join hands with the Centre and work collectivity to reap the benefit of tourism. Without the support of states, the Ministry of Tourism cannot do much even they are trying give a due place to tourism in the India’s growth story.

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