MoT releases its 'Year End Review' for 2020

Significant highlights of the Ministry of Tourism during the year 2020 were recently released by the Ministry of Tourism.

2020 was a year that ceased the scheduled proceedings around the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the Ministry of Tourism did not stop promoting India's rich heritage and culture. With changing times, the Ministry also changed its communication channel by conducting online conferences, webinars, inauguration ceremonies, etc. Here is a list of events organised by the Ministry of Tourism in 2020:

Ministry of Tourism organised 68 webinars under the 'Dekho Apna Desh' Series. Gaining a viewership of over three lakhs, the Ministry of Tourism streamed the series to bolster India's rich tourism culture.

The Ministry also launched the SAATHI initiative to aid the hospitality industry for its safe operation and simultaneously instilled confidence regarding hotel/ unit safety keeping the COVID-19 pandemic in mind.

Moreover, 34399 accommodation units have been registered on the NIDHI portal. On the other hand, the 'Stranded in India' portal assisted the stranded foreign tourists and provided support during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Various projects under 'PRASHAD' and 'Swadesh Darshan' scheme were completed and inaugurated. The year 2020 saw varied activities by the Ministry to promote EBSB.

Furthermore, other significant highlights of the Ministry of Tourism during the year 2020 are as follows:

* Bharat Parv: 'Bharat Parv' was organised at the Gyan Path and Red Fort Ground, Delhi, from 26th to January 31, 2020, as a part of the Republic Day Celebrations. The theme of the Bharat Parv was ‘150 Years of Mahatma' and 'Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat.' 'Bharat' Parv 2020 included a Republic Day tableaux display, a performance by Armed Forces Band, pavilion by State Governments/UTs and the line Ministries, food stalls, cultural performances, handicraft, and handloom stalls, etc.

* Incredible India Tourist Facilitator (IITF) Certification Programme: The Ministry of Tourism launched the Incredible India Tourist Facilitator (IITF) Certification Programme, a Pan-India online learning program accessible from different digital devices. The programme will enhance the overall experience of tourists by creating a pool of local, trained professionals. It will help create employment opportunities at the local level, even in remote areas with tourism potential. As of December 21, 2020, 6402 persons have registered under the IITFC Programme.

* Conference on Destination Management and Community Participation: Ministry of Tourism organized a Conference on Destination Management and Community Participation on February 13 and February 14, 2020, at Rann of Kutch, Gujarat. It was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Culture & Tourism and Chief Minister of Gujarat. The Ministry of Tourism conducted the meeting to discuss the importance of Destination Management and Community Participation in the tourism sector.

* Incredible India website updated: The Minister of State for Tourism & Culture (IC) launched the Incredible India Website in Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish languages to attract tourists from these regions.

* Dekho Apna Desh: The Ministry of Tourism launched the 'Dekho Apna Desh' initiative in January 2020 to create awareness among the citizens about the country's rich heritage and culture and encourage citizens to travel within the country. The Ministry started this initiative to implement the Independence Day address of the Prime Minister delivered in 2019, asking every citizen to visit at least 15 destinations by 2022. To create awareness, the Ministry has also launched an online 'Dekho Apna Desh' pledge and Quiz on '' To date, 68 webinars have been organised with a viewership of almost 3 lakh.

* Stranded in India' portal: The Ministry of Tourism set up a portal 'Stranded in India' to facilitate and extend support to foreign tourists who were stranded in the country on account of cancellation of flights/lockdown. The portal helped tourists get information/details of State /UT Tourism Departments and Regional Offices of the Ministry of Tourism.

Ministry of Tourism also initiated photography/videography of important tourism and cultural sites using Drone cameras during the lockdown to get the best footage and when the pollution level is at its lowest.

* International Day of Yoga (IDY): Ministry of Tourism carried out several activities on the central theme 'Yoga @ home & Yoga with family' to mark the 'International Day of Yoga' (IDY). The highlight of the celebrations was the 'Dekho Apna Desh' Webinar on June 20, 2020, which featured a conversation with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. The session titled 'Bharat: A Cultural Treasure' was led by the Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism and Culture and had renowned personalities from diverse fields, including tourism & hospitality. Several activities were also carried out by the Domestic and Overseas Indian tourism Offices.

* NIDHI: Ministry of Tourism has created the National Integrated Database of Hospitality Industry (NIDHI) to get a clear picture of the geographical spread of the Hospitality Sector, its size, structure, and existing capacity. This common repository of data by the Ministry of Tourism, State Departments of Tourism and Industry will help the Central and State Governments to deliver better support and services, including policies and strategies. So far, 34399 accommodation units have been registered on the portal.

* SAATHI: To ensure adherence with the COVID-19 safety and hygiene protocol, the Ministry initiated a scheme called SAATHI (System for Assessment, Awareness & Training for Hospitality Industry) in association with the Quality Council of India (QCI) for effective implementation of Guidelines/ SOPs issued regarding COVID-19 and beyond for safe operations of Hotels, Restaurants, B&Bs and other units. Until now, 6810 accommodation units have been self-certified on the SAATHI portal.

* Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (IC), Prahlad Singh Patel held a virtual meeting with 34 State Tourism Ministers/Officials in New Delhi on October 15 and 16, 2020. The Minister mentioned that earlier, only 1400 registrations of hotels were available with the Ministry. However, with NIDHI's introduction (National Integrated Database of Hospitality Industry) initiative, the numbers are growing gradually. Thus, providing more reliable data of the tourists and the hospitality industry.

* 'Thenzawl Golf Resort' Project Inaugurated: Union Minister of State for Culture & Tourism (Independent charge), Prahlad Singh Patel, virtually inaugurated the 'Thenzawl Golf Resort' Project implemented under the 'Swadesh Darshan Scheme' of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. Tourism Minister of Mizoram Robert Romawia Royte and Commissioner and Secretary for Tourism Department of Government of Mizoram Esther Lal Ruatkimi also presided in the event in New Delhi on August 4, 2020.

* 'Development of Pilgrimage Amenities at Somnath, Gujarat' project: Prahlad Singh Patel, Union Minister of State (IC) for Tourism, virtually joined Chief Minister of Gujarat Vijaybhai Rupani on the inauguration of the project 'Development of Pilgrimage Amenities at Somnath, Gujarat' on July 16, 2020. The project 'Development of Pilgrimage Amenities at Somnath, Gujarat,' sanctioned under the PRASHAD scheme in March 2017, has been completed with Rs. 45.36 crore.

* Tourist Facilitation Centre: Prahlad Singh Patel also inaugurated the 'Tourist Facilitation Centre' facility constructed under the project "Development of Guruvayur, Kerala" under the PRASHAD Scheme of the Ministry of Tourism through Virtual Platform on November 4, 2020.

* Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat: During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Bharat Central Institutes of Hotel Management affiliated to NCHMCT, the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management organized various activities on 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' from May 8, 2020, to August 24, 2020.

A formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was virtually signed by the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO) with the Ministry of Tourism for women empowerment. Through this initiative, TAAI and FLO will emphasise personal and hospitality skills, a more flexible work balance, and greater options for entrepreneurship with significantly lower capital.

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Year End Review COVID-19 Prahalad Singh Patel


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