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Saturday, 14 December, 2019, 13 : 58 PM [IST]

Tourism stakeholders need to be vigilant against efforts to tarnish country’s image: Prahalad Singh Patel

Minister of State with Independent Charge of Culture & Tourism, Prahalad Singh Patel has asked the tourism industry stakeholders to be vigilant against the conscious efforts from different quarters to tarnish the image of the country. While the government is conscious about it and will do whatever possible to deal with it, the private industry should also need to be alert about such activities. Reiterating that it is not lack of capital nor funds, but perceptions that is key bottleneck before Destination India, the Minister urged the industry to work together with the government to identify the challenges and frame strategies to overcome them. 

The Minister was speaking at an event organised by World Travel & Tourism Council – India Initiative (WTTC-II) in Delhi. 

Saying that China is a key focus source market for India, especially since the large outbound travel numbers, the Minister said that it is high-time India’s tourism gets its act together to create the environment of safety, hygiene and infrastructure, including sufficient availability of Chinese guides and interpreters to attract Chinese tourists. Similarly, he urged airline companies to establish right connectivity with both China as well as South Eastern countries to help them reach destinations which are associated with Buddhist pilgrimage with least hassles.

 Talking about the North East region, the Minister said that the extension of Inner Line Permit system to Manipur should not be seen as a barrier, but as a step to protect the life and culture of indigenous people. Citing the example of small State of Sikkim which receives more tourists than its total population, the Minister said that such mass tourism is not sustainable to North East. The Minister said that with the establishment of rail and road network, North East will become the gateway to India for South East Asia. 

While India has best of everything to attract international tourists, what is lacking is proper branding and marketing of the products and destinations, the Minister said. He sought the support of the private stakeholders like hotels, airlines, etc. to take active part in branding and marketing of India’s iconic sites and attractions.  

Speaking on the occasion, Ajay Singh, CMD, SpiceJet and Chairman, WTTC-I, also underscored the need for government and the industry to work together to see India receive more international tourists. “Something we are not doing right,” he said adding that it’s a shame that India with such diversity is not able to attract fair share of international tourist.
 
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