The National Tourism Policy, which had been in the pipeline for a long time, is now under the observation of various trade associations, as the Ministry of Tourism seeks suggestions and feedback from them. TRAVTALK spoke to association heads to understand the recommendations they plan to make.
Subhash Goyal, Secretary General, FAITH
It’s a comprehensive policy; the government has tried to cover all the steps. While the policy does talk about skilling people, we must also retain the people who are skilled. There is no mention of such an insurance in the policy. I really feel that right now the first point of the policy should have been bringing tourism back on track. The government wants to make it a world-class policy that is sustainable. Another important thing is to ensure ease of doing business, so development of products must be time-bound.
Jyoti Mayal, President, TAAI
The policy’s aim is to double the tourism in the next 5 years, but we have been trying that since years. We need to relook into the same. We have given collective inputs as FAITH, and we are still drafting some more inputs focusing on the new norms and ways of how tourism is going to be in the future. We have suggested that for travel agents and intermediaries, emerging trends should be considered. Specific central government policies should be there to achieve travel agents and intermediaries’ parity for survival.
Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President, FHRAI
Developers should be provided tax incentives/holidays for setting up projects in Tier-II and III cities. We also ask Ministry of Tourism to rationalise taxes, and visa rules should be adopted in comparison to our neighbouring countries. We should learn from leading destinations about best practices that will boost arrivals, especially for M!CE. Ministry of Tourism should focus on budgetary allocations. Another issue is the absence of ease of doing business.
Pradip Lulla, Acting President and VP, TAFI
We have suggested that tourism be categorised as a priority sector and loans be given at minimal interest above repo by government directives. We also request standard SOPs on all entry and exit points at airports with no quarantine for asymptomatic and COVID-negative reports. We suggest that the government restart all hotels and bars, and require these establishments to strictly adhere to safety guidelines. The government should remove e-pass regulations on interstate road travel.
PP Khanna, President, ADTOI
While the policy draft makes a suggestion on doubling domestic tourism from 1.8 billion to 3.6 billion in another five years, it should focus on identifying and developing new destinations in a time-bound manner. Policies to help realise the milestones of domestic tourism should be clearly identified. Another important thing is the five ‘S’- Safety, Standardisation, Security, Sustainability and Sensitisation – and the policy should lay out guidelines and milestones for five years, with municipal corporations and state governments covering them.
Rajeev Mehra, Vice President, IATO
We have studied the National Tourism Policy draft and it looks okay to us. We have told the ministry that as far as IATO is concerned, the draft is fine. But, whenever we have a meeting, I hope topics in the draft are discussed one by one in the presence of other stakeholders as well, and any input then and there would be given by us. We are eagerly waiting for changes in the MDA scheme to be announced. Once they are announced, things will get better. We are hopeful of hearing from the ministry soon.
Capt Swadesh Kumar, President, ATOAI
Now that we have received the draft of the National Tourism Policy, there is a deliberation going on among the officer bearers and members on it and I cannot speak on the developments myself since we have not yet submitted our suggestions and recommendations to the ministry. But, one thing which I can say is that the time has come for Ministry of Tourism to consider adventure tourism as a very important source of business. I think, more importance should be given to adventure tourism just like inbound and domestic tourism.
Jatinder Taneja, Vice-Chairman, PATA India Chapter
We have asked for the policy to be undated, so that changes can be made from time to time. We have suggested that the National Tourism Board needs to be made and shall include all the categories of tourism. Eco-tourism, sustainable and experiential tourism should be included when a roadmap is being made for specific tourism products. International marketing plan should be directed at FTOs and through them to consumers. Incredible India logo can be changed to attract attention.
Inputs by Nisha Verma