This is an interview with Union Minister of Tourism Chiranjeevi, who is currently attending the International Travel Exhibition in Fitur, Spain.
What is the agenda for the Tourism Ministry in 2013?
Tourism in India has the potential to promote faster, sustainable and more inclusive growth. It could be used as a powerful antidote to tackle poverty.
We have prepared a multi-pronged strategy to increase India’s share in global tourist arrivals by developing a world-class infrastructure, overcoming the dearth of manpower through professional skill and undertaking aggressive promotional and marketing activities.
The primary objective is to double the arrival of tourists from the present 6.31 million to 12 million by the end of 2016. This will create additional employment of about 2.5 crore in the tourism sector, both direct and indirect.
How was the foreign tourist arrival (FTA) in India in 2012 and what revenue does the country get from it? How much growth potential do you see in the coming years for FTA?
The number of foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in India during 2011 increased to 6.31 million as compared to 5.78 million in 2010. The growth rate in FTAs during 2011 over 2010 was 9.2 per cent as compared to 11.8 per cent during 2010 over 2009. FTAs in India during 2010, 2011 and 2012 were 5.78 million, 6.31 million and 6.65 million respectively. The foreign exchange earnings in 2012 were Rs.94,487 crore ($17.74 billion). .
What measures are being taken to promote India as an attractive destination to foreign production houses?
The Ministry of Tourism has identified ‘Film Tourism’ as a niche tourism product. Recognising the importance of cinema as a powerful tool for the development and promotion of various tourist destinations, the Ministry of Tourism has announced several initiatives through films shot in India.
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Ministry of Tourism have signed a MoU to enhance the reach of “Incredible India” through the medium of cinema, develop synergy between the tourism and film industry and provide a platform to enable partnerships between the Indian and global film industry.
We have also written to all the States/Union Territories to recognise the potential of film tourism and constitute special bodies/cells to facilitate filming in their States/UTs.
The widely-acclaimed “Life of Pi” was partly shot in the beautiful locales of Puducherry (Pondicherry) and Munnar in Kerala. A “Land of Pi” campaign will be launched soon across all media, including print, online, electronic and outdoor, to promote Puducherry and Munnar as tourist destinations.
How are the funds of nearly Rs.15,000 crore allocated to the ministry during the 12th Plan being utilised?
The Tourism Ministry is proposing the utilisation of more than 50 per cent of the fund allocation during the 12th Plan to augment the tourism infrastructure in the country. Ministry of Tourism will also allocate sufficient amounts in various other schemes such as overseas promotion and publicity, capacity building and assistance to IHM/FCI etc. during the 12th Plan.
We have proposed a total budget outlay of Rs.1,773.79 crore during 2013-14. The outlay for 2012-13 was Rs.1,210 crore, however, it was reduced to Rs.950 crore.