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Schemes to boost Tourism in India
Nov 27, 2015

Tourism worldwide, serves as an important employment generator, source of foreign exchange and economic growth. Richly endowed with unique culture, nature, heritage, lively markets, traditional hospitality, India has the tourism product in abundance. The need is to serve it in an attractive manner to the consumer. Tourism industry in any country flourishes on the basis of competitiveness of facilities like infrastructure, accommodation, transport and recreation and that is where the role of various stake holders’ right from Central and State Governments to entrepreneurs and society as a whole comes into play.

The Government policies provide a framework to promote the sector and facilitate growth. They help put in place a set of guidelines and strategies to boost inflow of tourists. They also provide access to resources and opportunities for employment.
Initiative of GoI in this regards are:


 Mission objectives include development of circuits having tourist potential in a planned and prioritized manner, integrated development of infrastructure in identified circuits, promote cultural heritage of country, developing world-class infrastructure in circuit destination, pro-poor tourism approach, promote local arts, handicrafts, cuisine, generate employment

⇒ Under this, Spiritual Circuit has been identified as theme circuit for development. Rs.600.00 crore have been allocated for Swadesh Darshan schemes to develop tourist destinations of global standards

2. National Mission on Pilgrimage rejuvenation and Augmentation Derive, PRASAD:

⇒ Aim is to promote sustainable pilgrimage tourism in the country, to strengthen measures for safety, security and proving the quality  tourism services in pilgrim cities, to bridge infrastructure gaps in pilgrimage destinations

⇒ Twelve cities namely Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh), Gaya(Bihar), Dwaraka(Gujarat), Amritsar(Punjab), Ajmer(Rajasthan), Kanchipuram(Tamil Nadu), Vellankani(Tamil Nadu), Puri(Odisha), Varanasi(Uttar Prasesh), Mathura(Uttar Pradesh), Kedarnath (Uttarakhand) and Kamakhya (Assam) have been identified for development under Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (PRASAD)

⇒ Integrated development of pilgrimage destinations to provide complete religious and spiritual tourism experience

3. Hunar Se Rozgar Tak: The Ministry of Tourism launched a special initiative called Hunar Se Rozgar Tak (HSRT) in the year 2009-10 for creation of employable skills amongst youth. The initiative is fully funded by the Ministry of Tourism. The features common to the training programmes under the HSRT are: the trainees should be in the age group of 18-28 years; each training programme is of short duration – 6 to 8 weeks; and no fees chargeable to the trainee. The HSRT initiative has helped upgrade the skills relevant to hospitality and tourism Sector in the country

4. Swachh Bharat Swachh Pakwan (Hunar Zaika): The street food vendors constitute a significant percentage of the hospitality service providers, are part of the Indian milieu through the ages and have a pan India presence. This program is aimed at upgrading  the  skills and hygiene standards of Street Food Vendors, so that they become a distinctive aspect of the Indian tourism. The Ministry of Tourism is partnering with the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) for the specific purpose of orientation, skill testing and certification of the vendors.

5. Incredible India Helpline:  On a pilot basis, the Ministry of Tourism has set up the ‘Incredible India Help Line’ to be operated in-house to address and guide the tourists during any emergency which may include medical, crime natural calamities or on being stranded.  This service will be available as toll free on telephone 1800111363 or on a short code 1363.

6. E-Tourist Visa:

  • Pathbreaking measure by the new Government

  • Initially introduced as Electronic Authorization (ETA) enabled Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) on 27th November, 2014

  • Now re-named as e-Tourist Visa but with no change in the scheme guidelines of ETA enabled TVoA

  • The e-Tourist Visa would enable the prospective visitor to apply for an Indian Visa from his/her home country online without visiting the Indian Mission and also pay the visa fee online. Once approved, the applicant will receive an email authorizing him/her to travel to India and he/she can travel with a print out of this authorization. On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorization to the immigration authorities who would then stamp the entry into the country.

  • E-Tourist Visa is presently available for citizens of 44 countries arriving at 9 airports in India.  The Ministry of Tourism has identified a list of 106 additional countries to be considered for e-Tourist Visa during 2015-16.

  • The introduction of E-Tourist Visa would directly have a positive impact on the foreign tourist arrivals into the country as it will simplify the process of seeking the visas to India.

  • There has been a substantive growth in the number of tourists availing of e-Tourist Visa after the introduction of ETA. During the month of March 2015, a total of 25,851 tourists arrived by e-Tourist Visa as compared to 1,958 TVoA of previous scheme during the month of March 2014, registering a growth of 1220.3 per cent

Issue in e-tourist Visa:

  • Although e-Tourist Visa is now available to more than 40 countries , the scheme is yet to become operational for several countries like China, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and Malaysia, which are important from the tourism perspective.

  • Similarly, the facility needs to be extended to several other airports like Varanasi, Gaya, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Tiruchirapalli which are important hubs of foreign tourist arrivals in India. This will also help to disperse the burden of tourists at the current 9 airports where the facility is applicable

  • There are demands for increasing the visa period to two months to give a greater flexibility to the tourists.

  • Since the discontinuation of manual VoA , foreign tourists are calling it a misnomer. They say that the new scheme is only an e-Visa and not a Visa on Arrival in the true sense since no pre-authorization is required in the latter.

  • A demand is also being raised by the stakeholders and tourists that multiple entry should be allowed along with the visa on arrival facility, so that any tourist coming to India can visit neighbouring countries also. The multiple entry will promote the growth in the Foreign Tourist arrivals.

7. International Buddhist Conclave 2014:With a view to showcase and project the Buddhist heritage of India, the second International Buddhist Conclave (IBC) was organised by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the State Govts. of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in Bodhgaya and Sarnath from September 26 – 28, 2014.  The Conclave included presentations, discussions, an exhibition highlighting the Buddhist attractions in India, visits to important Buddhist sites during the period of the Conclave and interaction between international and domestic tour operators to enhance tourism to the Buddhist circuit in the country. The International Buddhist Conclave was attended by 120 foreign delegates comprising of Buddhist Opinion makers, tour operators, media etc., from 32 countries

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