Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday addressed a post-budget webinar – a 12-part series organised by the government inviting suggestions to effectively implement the Budget 2023 announcements. Titled ‘Developing Tourism in Mission Mode’, PM Modi said ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas and ‘long-term vision’ will help tourism scale new heights. He explained how Budget 2023 aims to create employment and investment opportunities in the tourism sector.
1. India needs to encourage various types of tourism related to the Himalayas, wildlife, spirituality, heritage, and the northeast because the nation’s tourist spots have been ignored since independence, Modi said. India should also explore its scope in birdwatching, he added.
2. Stressing on the impact of renovating religious sites, he said that the revamped Kashi Vishwanath Dham had 7 crore visitors, while Kedarnath and Statue of Unity recorded a footfall of 15 lakh and 27 tourists, respectively. He added that bringing in more amenities and enabling ease of travel will boost tourism.
3. Although some people think tourism is a ‘fancy word’ meant for people earning high incomes, it has a socio-cultural context in India, the PM said. Announcing the need to introduce special packages for destination weddings, he said that the industry has huge tourism potential as even the middle-class and upper-middle are choosing such intercultural wedding functions.
4. Taking the example of Qatar after hosting the Fifa World Cup, the PM said that sports tourism should be developed by building similar infrastructure.
5. India should focus on modernising its tourist apps and make it accessible in all official languages of India and the United Nations, set up multilingual signboards at tourist spots and boost digital connectivity.
6. Colleges should take up initiative to enhance the knowledge of professional tour guides through certificate courses and competitions in order to attract foreign tourists. The month of January saw eight lakh foreign tourists in India, PM Modi said.
7.Through ‘Vibrant Village Yojana’ for villages near borders and other programmes, the Centre is extending support to local homestays, hotels and businesses in tourist spots. Enhancing the infrastructure in such areas has catapulted remote villages to the map of tourism.
8. As per an announcement in Budget 2023, at least 50 destinations will be picked and developed in mission mode so that it will ‘feature on tourists’ list when they think of visiting India’. While urging stakeholders to send ideas, PM Modi said that each destination will come up with its revenue model. Sector specific upskilling and entrepreneurship training will be merged to achieve the aim of ‘Dekho Apna Desh’.