India to unveil new national tourism policy

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First new edition of national agenda since 2002

India will unveil its new national tourism policy in May 2015, marking the first time it has been updated since 2002.

Dr Mahesh Sharma, India’s Minister of Tourism, Culture & Civil Aviation, held a workshop recently with several leading industry stakeholders, in an effort to devise the policy.

Areas to be included in the new national tourism policy include infrastructure, including the need for connectivity in remote areas, e-ticketing, visas, safety and security, and tax incentives for the hotel and transport sectors.

It was also agreed that the new national tourism policy should be measurable, with deliverable timeframes on each issue and specific people assigned to each task. One of the criticisms of the previous tourism plan in 2002 was the fact that so few of the issues it identified were actually addressed.

While the 2015 plan will continue to concentrate on the “seven Ss” used in previous policy – swagat (welcome), soochna (information), suvidha (facilitation), suraksha (security), sahyog (cooperation), samrachana (infrastructure development) and safai (cleanliness) – it will also “give a serious thought to the causes of non-implementation of various schemes under 2002 policy”, according to Mr Sharma.

In terms of tourism sectors, India is planning to develop the soft adventure, wildlife, desert, nature and wellness tourism industries.

The development of the new national tourism policy forms part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s increased focus on the tourism industry.

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