Potential aplenty

Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy has said that the tourism sector has huge potential for job creation and economic growth.

Nisha Verma

G Kishan Reddy believes that the pandemic has given a setback to the tourism industry as well as an opportunity to rethink how the sector can be reinvented to make it more resilient and future-ready. “Tourism has emerged as one of the fundamental pillars of economic development and employment generation. It will not be an understatement to say that we have a powerful mix of cultural and natural wealth to offer to the world like no other nation in the world. At the same time, tourism has always been a strong driver for economic growth in our country as well as globally. In 2019, the industry contributed US$ 194 bn to the Indian economy and created about 40 mn jobs, which is 12% of total employment,” he added.

Quoting a report, he said that return of the investment and tourism is comparatively higher than any other sector. “For a `10 lakh investment, tourism can provide 78 jobs as compared to 45 jobs in the manufacturing sector. This shows the immense potential of the sector to bring about socio-economic change in the nation,” he shared.

He further said that because of the onslaught of COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has witnessed a major shift. “The global tourism industry is going through a phase of transition. There is a need today to take initiative for rethinking travel, tourism and hospitality sector.

There is a need to focus our energies, not just in reviving the sector, but making it one of the drivers to revive the economy. We have taken it on priority to interact with experts and stakeholders. We want to involve everyone in the sector to re-energise the sector and address all the challenges faced in the last 1.5 years.”

He also added that digitalisation can be the way forward to make tourism more attractive. “Stakeholders impress upon the state governments to give industry status to tourism. This will greatly help in the development of tourism, particularly infrastructure. To achieve true potential of tourism, the first fundamental requirement is to ensure coordination at every level of the activity.

We need to have a proactive approach from every stakeholder—be it centre, state, or the industry and private stakeholder, everyone needs to jointly identify the priority areas, so that the revival of tourism is focused on sustainability and responsible travelling,” he insisted.

Sharing his view on a tourism policy, Reddy revealed, “There should be a policy in Indian tourism. We are also thinking it should be in the Concurrent List. Also, I am requesting everybody to participate in preparing a new national tourism policy which, once introduced, would be particularly helpful for stakeholders. Through this policy, we can get a proper response, investments and support, from village Gram Panchayat to town municipality and Government of India. The Prime Minister is very keen on the tourism sector to rise from this situation.”

 

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