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India needs to develop new domestic destinations to attract travellers: DG Tourism

G Kamala Vardhan Rao, Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has emphasized on the need to develop and showcase newer tourist destinations to attract more travellers from both domestic and international countries. “We should collectively work to ensure that new destinations come up with basic infrastructure,” he added.

Addressing the ‘7th National Tourism Investors Meet 2022’, organised by FICCI, Rao invited the investors to invest in the tourism sector. “India is going to host the G-20 meetings next year and it will be organized across various states and cities. The states are also investing heavily to build infrastructure. I urge investors to come forward and invest in the hospitality sector,” he stated.

Speaking on the investment potential in tourism sector, Rao stated that tourism is the beneficiary of all the investments of various ministries and departments including national highways, rural development ministry, civil aviation, railways, etc. “Whichever department is investing in the infrastructure and services sector, it is tourism which is the beneficiary,” he stated.

Highlighting on enhancing the connectivity in various tourist destinations, Rao said that each year the government is taking various steps to improve the rail and air connectivity but air connectivity in the north-eastern sector still needs to be enhanced.

Speaking on the importance of souvenir industry, depicting India’s art, culture and other aspects, Rao stated that the industry should also focus on developing a niche in this sector which has a lot of potential. “The government can only facilitate the souvenir industry, but it is the private sector which has to take this up in a big way. It can become a major investment area as well,” he added.

Rao also stated that post pandemic, MICE tourism is growing at a much faster pace and with the increase in number of convention centers opening in India, investors should seize the opportunity in MICE tourism.

Usha Padhee, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India stated that the government is working to increase the number of airports in the country to 200 by 2024 from current 140 airports. She further stated that aviation and tourism are complimenting sectors. “Air connectivity needs to be in tandem with what the tourism sector is doing,” she added.

Padhee said that the government is working to connect the north-eastern states with more international flights under the UDAN scheme. “Coordination between the stakeholders is critical to improve the connectivity,” she emphasized.

Rajni Hasija, Chairperson & MD, IRCTC said that IRCTC has the plan to expand its hospitality business and developing various properties under PPP model. “This is the opportunity for the industry to join our hands in developing various destinations and promoting the domestic tourism. Everyone has to work together to promote the industry and IRCTC is also working to promote film tourism in a big way,” she added.

Dr Jyotsna Suri, Past President, FICCI; Chairperson, FICCI Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Committee and CMD, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group said that India needs to have a very robust domestic tourism and we can’t entirely rely on international tourism. “We need to go beyond the areas that are unexplored. Connectivity is one of the biggest shortcomings that we have to improve,” she added.

Ankush Nijhawan, Chairman, FICCI Outbound Tourism Committee; Co-Founder, TBO Group & MD, Nijhawan Group; Mr Ravi Gosain, Vice President, IATO and Mr Rajan Sehgal, Co-Founder-PASSIONALS, President- Indian Golf Tourism Association & Member-MANAS under the aegis of Ministry of Minority Affairs, Govt of India also shared their perspective on the investment opportunities in the tourism sector.

FICCI-Nangia Andersen LLP Knowledge paper ‘Rebuilding Tourism for the Future 2022’, was released during the event.

 

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