New Delhi [India], Sept.23 (ANI
): Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, said that the government would shortly come out with a plan for disinvestment of hotels functioning under the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC).
Participating in a panel discussion of tourism ministers from Nagaland, Punjab and Telangana on the third day of the Incredible India Tourism Investors' Summit-2016 here, Dr. Sharma said the challenge is to raise the share of tourism in India's GDP from about seven percent currently.
He said that since tourism is a state subject, the role of state governments is critical. The World Economic Forum in its recent Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index has ranked India 13 places higher at 52 as compared to 65 in the previous edition, he stressed.
Sohan Singh Thandal, Minister for Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Government of Punjab, highlighted Punjab's potential for religious tourism and sites relating to India's freedom struggle.
He stated that funding is required for completing incomplete tourism projects. He also emphasized the need for a good environment for tourism including safety of women, education of police personnel, and road infrastructure, among others. Punjab's bhangra and pop music has captured the attention of audiences everywhere, and the state can capitalize on this, he added.
Azmeera Chandulal, Minister for Tourism and Culture, Government of Telengana, spoke about the advantages of Hyderabad as an attractive destination. It offers rich handicrafts and Cyber city as well as festivals and medical facilities.
He outlined the target of attracting 1 million tourists by 2020. Hyderabad should emerge as a 'must-visit' city, he stressed.
C Apok Jamir, Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, Nagaland, said that the North East is a crucial link in the Central Government's Act East policy of connecting to South East Asia.
He lauded the Central Government's emphasis on development of the North East, which he felt would help bridge the 'emotional gap' and create a sense of oneness and belonging.
Nagaland has a rich cultural heritage of 16 major tribes. Its Hornbill Festival showcasing tribal culture has become a big attraction. "For a small state like Nagaland, tourism is the future," he concluded. (ANI