The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) celebrated World Tourism Day yesterday through virtual platform. Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan was the Chief Guest of the event, Union Minister of Tourism and Culture (I/C) Prahlad Singh Patel also graced the occasion. Secretary, MoT Yogendra Tripathi; Director General, Tourism Meenakshi Sharma; Joint Secretary, Tourism Rakesh Kumar Verma, Addl DG(Tourism) Rupinder Brar and other officials of the Ministry also participated in the virtual event.
This year, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has designated 2020 as the Year of Tourism and Rural Development. This is an opportunity to promote the potential of tourism to create jobs and opportunities. It can also advance inclusion and highlight the unique role tourism can play in preserving and promoting natural and cultural heritage and curbing urban migration.
During the event, SAATHI Application was launched by Pradhan. SAATHI is an initiative of the MoT with Quality Council of India to assist the hospitality industry to continue to operate safely and thereby instill confidence among the staff, employees and the guests about the safety of the hotel/unit. Pradhan also launched a film ‘Pathik’, an initiative on Incredible India Tourist Facilitators Certification Programme (IITFC) and an ICPB MICE Promotional film.
Speaking on the occasion, Pradhan appreciated the efforts of the MoT in launching the SAATHI application and the online learning module IITFC. He also lauded the Ministry’s effort of showcasing our culture, heritage, lesser known destinations, cuisine etc through the webinar series Dekho Apna Desh.
Talking about sustainable environment, he was keen to take it further by susbstituting Petrol, diesel, kerosene etc in operating boats at tourist sports with CNG/LPG which are pollution free. He also emphasised upon using battery operated vehicles in and around tourist spots.
Addressing the event, Patel reiterated the vision of the Prime Minister of India asking every citizen to visit at least 15 destinations by the year 2022 to promote domestic tourism. He said that the Ministry has launched the Dekho Apna Desh (DAD) initiative in January 2020 with the objective of creating awareness among the citizens about the rich heritage and culture of the country, encouraging citizens to travel widely within the country and enhancing tourist footfalls leading to development of local economy and creation of jobs at the local level.
Patel further said that the programme will help in enhancing the overall experience of the tourists, who would benefit from the knowledge of the local tourist facilitators and it will also help in creating employment opportunities even in the remotest parts of the country.
The session was opened by Secretary (Tourism) extending a warm welcome and appreciating the awareness and proactive measures taken by all the stakeholders during this pandemic time to work out a strategy and taking necessary action. Joint Secretary (Tourism) concluded the session with Vote of Thanks.