Tourism Minister seeks feedback on National Tourism Policy Draft from the states
Tourism Minister advised the states to develop 30-40 sec videos promoting new destinations in their states as the preference of visitors have shifted to less frequented new destinations.
Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (IC) Shri Prahlad Singh Patel sought feedback on National Tourism Policy Draft 2020 from the states during a virtual meeting.
This meeting was in continuation of the meeting held on 15th October 2020 attended by State Tourism Ministers/Officials from 15 States/ UTs. Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Yogendra Tripathi, DG, Tourism, Meenakshi Sharma and other senior officials of the Tourism Ministry also attended the meeting.
The agenda of meeting included facilitating Ease of Travel between States/UTs for promoting domestic tourism, incentives being offered by states/UTs to the tourism and hospitality sector, working on System for Assessment, Awareness and Training for Hospitality Industry (SAATHI) for the adherence of safety norms and Suggestions on the way forward for revival of tourism, including working on the National Integrated Database of Hospitality Industry (NIDHI) Scheme of the Ministry of Tourism to create robust database of hospitality units.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Tourism Minister said that tourism sector is amongst the worst hit sectors during COVID-19 pandemic. However, with continuous dialogue with the stake holders and initiatives taken by the central and state governments the sector has slowly started on revival mode and hope to pick up pace again in near future. Shri Patel stressed on the use of SAATHI and NIDHI initiatives of the Tourism Ministry which are becoming very crucial during current situation. He said that earlier we only had 1400 registrations of hotels with us but because of NIDHI initiative now we have 27000 hotels registered with us and the number is growing regularly. It gives us more reliable data of the tourists and hospitality industry. He also said that the use of SAATHI initiative will build confidence in tourists as it helps hospitality industry in preparedness to continue operations safely and mitigate risks arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He mentioned about the good work carried out by UT of Chandigarh mentioning that Chandigarh had 110 hotels out of which 108 are now registered on NIDHI and 83 on SAATHI. He advised the states to use these two platforms for data capturing and confidence building among the travelers to travel to their states.
He requested the States/UTs to share their observations on the draft National Tourism Policy to enable the Ministry to finalize it at the earliest.
Patel informed about the 'Dekho Apna Desh' campaign of Ministry of Tourism and urged the states to join the campaign by focusing on promotion of domestic tourism. He advised the states to develop 30-40 sec videos promoting new destinations in their states as the preference of visitors have shifted to less frequented new destinations. He also urged the states to adopt uniform protocol for interstate tourists to make their travel hassle free.
The Minister also informed about the Incredible India Tourist Facilitator Certification program (IITF) which is an online program to train guides and is seen as a potential employment generator at the pan India level. Currently the program has almost 6000 persons enrolled and with the qualified persons being eventually coming on the e-marketplace, the program is seen as having a huge potential in transforming the tourist experience in terms of the guiding and showcasing India.
Talking during the meeting Conrad Kongkal Sangma, Chief Minsiter of Meghalaya mentioned that Meghalaya had utilised the COVID time productively. They have carried out training and capacity building of stakeholders, upgraded the tourism website, have developed new promotional videos and had worked on better connectivity to the state as way forward. UDAN scheme has improved the connectivity in the North East region and now the state is working on direct flight to Delhi from Shillong.
Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism Kerala informed about the various measures Government of Kerala has undertaken to support the tourism Industry by providing incentives and waivers in the form of Loan assistance, extension of time line for submission of property tax, waiver of electricity and water bills for the period the accommodation units were non-functional. The State has opened to interstate tourism from 10th October and is ready with its new marketing campaign focussing on changed times.
Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Minister for Tourism, Odisha informed that tourists from other parts of the country have started visiting Odisha. The state has not opened the temples to the tourists yet.
P U Robert Romawia Royte, Minister for Tourism Mizoram mentioned that they are working on ways to restore travellers’ confidence and have developed new products for MICE, Golf and Adventure activities in the state.
Thiru. Vellamandi N. Natarajan, Minister for Tourism, Tamilnadu informed that the state has issed SOPs and guidelines for resumption of tourism in the state and state is now ready to welcome the tourists.
Bedu Singh Panth, Tourism Minister of Sikkim stated that the state is now open to interstate travel, they will be opening the tourism services and destination in phased manner.
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