The Minister for Tourism and Culture, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel and senior officials from both the Ministries today called on the 15th Finance Commission headed by Chairman, Shri N.K. Singh to put forth the financial projections of the Ministries on various schemes and projects and also suggest measures for incentivizing States by the Finance Commission in its rewards, for the promotion of tourism and culture.
The Chairman, Shri N. K. Singh observed that the Tourism and Culture sectors are very important for the Finance Commission as they were engines of employment generation, income growth, integral part of integration of the nation and for building international relations. He says that the Commission was aware of the typical problems of the sectors most of which were legacy issues. The Chairman was of the view that major changes were required in the ASI Act 1958, which was dated and not suited for current times. He suggested that private sector participation should be encouraged for the up-keep of protected monuments and should be enacted to aggressively market the monuments amongst international and domestic tourists. The meeting discussed the Prime Minister’s stress on domestic tourism and Chairman was of the view that sending school students to the different parts of the country should be made mandatory on the part of the school – by making it a part of the school syllabus. He recalled that he had already raised this issue with the Union HRD Minister,
Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal. The meeting discussed the problems facing the hotel industry and the lack of connectivity infrastructure which was hampering the growth of tourism across the country.
The Commission was informed by the Tourism Ministry that –
- Niche Products have been identified by the Ministry of Tourism for development and promotion: i. Cruise ii. Adventure iii. Medical (also called medical travel, health tourism or global healthcare) iv. Wellness (Indian system of medicine covered by Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) v. Golf vi. Polo vii. Meetings Incentives Conferences & Exhibitions (MICE) viii. Eco-tourism ix. Film Tourism x. Sustainable Tourism
- Human Resource Management and Broad-basing of the Hospitality Education followed by Capacity Building for Service Providers leading to easy access to tourism destinations in terms of international transport and facilities are the major areas of concern for the Ministry.
- MoT to work towards augmenting tourism infrastructure, easing of visa regime, assurance of quality standards in services of tourism service providers, projecting the country as a 365 days’ tourist destination, promoting tourism in a sustainable manner
- MoT to accord priority for holistic development of tourism destinations into world class destination 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
- Major schemes of the Ministry of Tourism for achieving its objectives:
- Integrated Development of Tourist Circuits around Specific Themes – Swadesh Darshan
- National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD)
- Assistance to Central Agencies for Tourism Infrastructure Development
- Domestic Promotion & Publicity including Hospitality (DPPH)
- Overseas Promotion & Publicity Including Marketing Development Assistance (MDA).
- Assistance to IHMs/FCIs etc.,
- Capacity Building for Service Providers (CBSP).
- The Ministry of Tourismobserved that State Governments need to be incentivised for contributing to infrastructure development of Tourism destinations by providing land, taking up development of lesser known tourism destinations, provision of wayside amenities and capacity building of hospitality industry.
- The Ministry has suggested that the performance of the States in tourism sector can be looked into from Foreign Exchange Earnings and Foreign Tourist Visits perspective. However, Foreign Exchange Earnings are compiled by RBI at National Level and hence, it is not possible to get segregated figures for States and the same may therefore, not be suitable for the purpose.
- Ministry of Tourism has a mechanism to capture the Foreign Tourist Visits to different States which can be used to assess the performance of States in the tourism sector. The claims of the States regarding Foreign Tourist Visits could be crosschecked by undertaking sample surveys for providing performance based incentives to States.
- Further, the Ministry of Tourism has requested that the performance of States could be assessed through a broader framework beyond export effort by using key parameters such as:
- State expenditure on Tourism
- Tourists visits
- Presence of classified Hotel Rooms
- Effectiveness of marketing campaign
- Ease of Doing Business
- Classified hotel rooms
- Policy guidelines and incentives
- Tourist Feedback