Tourism Policy in 2018: Minister

Revolutionising the way tourism in India has always been viewed by the outside world, the Ministry of Tourism is continuously looking for ways and means to innovate and progress. The ministry is now setting its sights on unchartered territories, unseen possibilities and unrealised potential.

KANCHAN NATH

The Ministry of Tourism is focused in its approach to the tourism and hospitality sector, and is willing to undertake initiatives that will help further its spectrum. Elaborating on the much-anticipated policy that the Ministry of Tourism hopes to implement, Alphons Kannanthanam, Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism and Minister of State, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, said, “We will be coming out with a Tourism Policy in 2018; it has to go to the cabinet for an approval. We are in the process of drafting and finalising that. The objective is to create the right infrastructure so that a milieu of people visit our country and more Indians travel around. I think this nation needs to be a lot more creative and innovative. If you have any ideas to grow tourism, do share with us and we will work towards their betterment. This revolution is really in the finer details.”

The Ministry of Tourism has evolved tremendously over the past few years with innovation, creativity and a will to explore areas that can benefit the sector and the country. Talking about the changing image of the Ministry, Kannanthanam added, “We are trying to project it as a citizen-friendly ministry and in a way, we have succeeded in doing that. Everything boils down to bringing happiness to people; after all, tourism is all about happiness. We have been able to project a very positive image of our ministry as being a very happy one, one that is helpful to people, and this is what brings people back to our country.”

On the new website of Incredible India which is scheduled to launch on December 25, he said, “The objective is to have a comprehensive website that will be useful to the traveller while functioning in user-friendly languages, formats, fonts, etc., making the entire experience seamless for those who want to know more about the country.”
On being asked about the high rate of GST of 28 per cent on hotels with a tariff above 7,500, he said, “I would love it if the tax is reduced so that it is comparable with the nations that we are competing with, but the government has its own compulsions. They have to ensure that a certain amount of revenue is available for the government to spend on major infrastructure development projects.”

Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, also described 2017 as a year that looked better than before. Elaborating on this, he said, “We are doing 15 per cent higher than what we did last year. We think this growth will be robust and we will have better times to come in 2018.”

Speaking about the induction of single-window clearance for group visa in the new tourism policy, Billa said, “Even though we have e-Visa, it does not apply to conferences. Firstly, we want the conference visa to also be done electronically and secondly, we would like group clearance for conferences.”

“We want to harness the growth of the MICE industry and set up convention promotion bureaus at the destination and state levels. We also want ICPB to become the mother body and unleash that potential because I think we already have the infrastructure for it. What we really need to do is connect the dots,” concluded Billa while speaking about the MICE industry’s potential.

“We will be coming out with the Tourism Policy in 2018; it has to go to the Cabinet for an approval. We are in the process of drafting and finalizing that,”— Alphons Kannanthanam Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, Government of India

“We are doing 15 per cent higher than what we did last year. We think this growth will be robust and we will have better times to come in 2018,”— Suman Billa Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India

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