K J Alphons, Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, speaks on the recently-launched Incredible India website and the initiatives undertaken for infrastructural development in the country to boost tourism.
Q. What are the initiatives taken up by the Ministry for the development of infrastructure in India?
As far as the Ministry of Tourism is concerned, we need basic infrastructure, connectivity, good roads, airports and cruise yards. The government has already been successful in terms of creating road infrastructure; where 4 kms of road was constructed everyday and today 25 kms of beautiful roads are being constructed. The government is spending `15 lakh crores on creating basic infrastructure in road, shipping and civil aviation. For example, UDAN is a great initiative. Hundreds of destinations which were not served earlier are connected now.
Q. Tell us something about the new Incredible India website.
The website is very interactive. People now don’t have to go anywhere else to seek information about India. Depending on your interest, you can browse through the multiple options available. We are also linking other websites, for example, we have a link to the hotelier’s association. Apart from government information, we have also linked other sectors related to tourism so that people can make
“Depending on your interest, you can browse through the multiple options available at the new website”
Q. What are the latest updates on the cruise tourism front?
We are building a cruise terminal in Mumbai. We have already built one in Goa and are in the process of building a second one in Kochi. Chennai already has one. We are also investing money in Vizag. We have relaxed the visa regime at these destinations so that people don’t need a biometric when they come on-board. We have asked the Finance Ministry to completely exempt GST from cruise tourism. Things will be much easier once this is realised. We also want India to be a home boat for cruise tourism. There is only one ship which is currently ported in India. Now we want more ships to be ported in the country to boost tourism further.