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The Union Minister for Tourism Shripad Yesso Naik chaired the National Conference of Tourism Ministers held in New Delhi on Thursday. Union Minister for Finance and Defence Arun Jaitley graced the occasion as Chief Guest in the inaugural session. Organized as part of the 100 days action plan of the Government, the objective of this conference was to initiate high-level discussions on important issues faced by India’s tourism industry. 18 State Tourism Ministers including Chief Minister of Meghalaya Mukul Sangma and Lt. Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands Lt. General Ajay Kumar Singh attended the conference. The remaining 16 States / Union Territories were represented by their senior officials.

In his opening address, the Union Minster for Tourism said “I want accomplish four issues namely reiterate that the safety and security of all tourists, domestic as well as international, but especially women, remains the top priority for all of us; talk about some of the opportunities before us; update you on the Tourism Strategy of the Ministry of Tourism; and conclude with how we can continue to work together”.

The Minister said, “as our Prime Minister who proclaimed from Red Fort about the attitude among the section of Governments workforce “Mera Kya and Muujhe Kya”. We have to rise above the feelings of "what does it mean for me?" and "why should I bother?" Everything is not for self-interest. One should work with the sentiment that “I am for nation`s interest and in this field, I am going to lead".

Even before the elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji identified five pillars (Five Ts) that will guide us in moving forward and we are proud that ‘Tourism’ is one of the five important pillars. Our commitment to develop tourism in the country is evident from our budget announcements. The presence of the Hon’ble Finance Minister here today itself underlines the seriousness that our government has accorded to the promotion and development of tourism in the country.”

Naik announced that from next year, the conference will be a two day affair. He also said that the Ministry of Tourism has decided to institute from 2016 a new category in its annual National Tourism Awards to recognize the best efforts made by all States / UTs for ensuring cleanliness at their prominent places of tourist significance. This would be carried out on the basis of a cleanliness Index being evolved by the Ministry. The Index will rank the cities on the basis of cleanliness at 10 popular destinations, 1 market place and 3 entry -exit points per city. The 3 cleanest destinations and 3 cleanest cities will be awarded.

The Union Finance and Defence Minister addressing the conference said that tourism industry in India is a low hanging fruit and with a little bit of planning, we can achieve far greater advantages. He said, tourism is not the sector of rich. Some of the tourists may be rich. The economic principle in which tourism functions is the man who has the wealth spends and the others get the job. So it is one of the largest employers in the world. Tourism is one of the greatest economic resources. If cooperative federalism can be seen in play, it is really in the Tourism sector. It is a sector which can create win- win situation for every Government.

The day-long Conference deliberated on various agenda items and adopted a resolution. According to the resolution it was agreed:


“that the Departments of Tourism of all States and UTs will work for creating a safe and secure environment for tourists by taking appropriate measures including running mass awareness campaigns,

that the Departments of Tourism of all States and UTs will take steps on priority to maintain cleanliness in and around various tourism destinations and cities,

that the Departments of Tourism of all States and UTs will strive to develop and promote niche tourism products like medical & wellness, MICE, agro based and plantation tourism, cruise tourism and adventure tourism, to overcome seasonality,

that the Departments of Tourism of all States and UTs will develop Tourism destinations keeping in view the principles of carrying capacity and sustainability,

that the Departments of Tourism of all States and UTs will adopt the “Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India” developed by the Ministry of Tourism for developing tourism in a responsible manner,

that the Departments of Tourism of all States and UTs will endeavour to promote responsible and pro-poor tourism by ensuring the increased involvement of local communities both at District and Panchayat levels,

while appreciating the usefulness of the public service delivery system, the Departments of Tourism of all States and UTs will minimize the delay in granting various licenses/no-objection certificates for construction and operation of hotels, and the other tourism facilities.

that the Departments of Tourism of all States and UTs will popularise Bed & Breakfast scheme to augment budget accommodation in the country,

that the Departments of Tourism of all States and UTs will work towards skill development in trades and areas specific to hospitality and tourism sector,

that the Departments of Tourism of all States and UTs in partnership with the Government of India will develop skill development programmes to meet the tourism industry’s requirements, run short term courses under the broad framework of the programme ‘Hunar Se RozgarTak’ and proactively persuade the tourism industry stakeholders to nominate existing service providers for the skill testing and certification courses run by the Ministry of Tourism,

that the Departments of Tourism of all States and UTs would identify new areas for skill development specific to monuments, historical places, archaeological sites, niche products, tourist destinations and circuits for enhancing employment opportunities in the tourism sector.”

The key representatives of the Travel & Hospitality Industry who attended the celebrations include among others Nakul Anand, Chairman FAITH, Subhash Goyal, President IATO, Vikram Oberoi, Vice President Hotel Association of India, Akshay Kumar, President Adventure Tour Operators Association of India , Krishna Dutt Yadav , President , Indian Tourist Transporters Association.

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