DHARAMSHALA: The Centre alone cannot drive the growth of tourism in the country and states will have to be equal partners in driving up the numbers in the sector, Union culture and tourism minister G Kishan Reddy said on Monday.
Addressing the National Conference of State Tourism Ministers in Dharamshala, Reddy said the industry in India is set for revival especially since it offers diverse travel experiences ranging from rich heritage to festivals, religions, traditions and customs.
“If India needs to achieve its immediate goals of a $ 5-trillion economy and its long-term goals of a developed nation then tourism has a very important role to play. For this, we must follow Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on working jointly across ministries and also across states,” he told the tourism ministers from 12 states who participated in the conference.
Reddy reiterated his appeal for opening Yuva Tourist Clubs, targeting youth from the school level and up, and said states must work on setting up focused groups like NSS and NCC. “We need to work to promote tourism and the concept of ‘Dekho Apna Desh’. I have written to all states and some have already started the process while others are yet to come on board. We have to catch them young to get them not only to travel but also to encourage more people to do so,” Reddy said.
The Union minister also laid emphasis on identifying lesser known and offbeat destinations to promote experiential tourism.
“The tourism industry in India was badly hit by the pandemic; however, now we are at the cusp of a change,” he said.
The first physical tourism conference being held after a gap of two years, Union tourism secretary Arvind Singh said the G-20 presidency offers a unique opportunity for India to boost its tourism sector, which will generate employment opportunities in India.
Tourism ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Haryana, Mizoram, Odisha, Tamil Nadu
, Uttar Pradesh
, Punjab, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh were in attendance at the conference.