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Mr. Shripad Yesso Naik, The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture & Tourism has said that during the year 2013, India received 6.97 million international tourists and the country was ranked 42nd in World Tourist Arrivals. The number of Foreign/International Tourist Arrivals in Singapore and Thailand during 2013 was 15.57 million and 26.55 million, respectively. The number of International/Foreign Tourist Arrivals in Thailand is much higher than India.
Mr. Naik also said that the Ministry of Tourism promotes India as a tourist destination in the domestic and international markets through print, electronic, online and outdoor media campaigns. Besides this, the Ministry through its overseas offices, inter-alia, organizes Road Shows, Know India Seminars, Workshops, participates in various Fairs, Exhibitions and Events to promote various Indian tourist destinations and products under the brand line âIncredible Indiaâ. The campaigns of the Ministry of Tourism include holistic promotion of various Indian tourism products and destinations of the country.
He further added that the Ministry of Tourism provides financial assistance to State Governments & Union Territory Administrations for tourism projects including Sound and Light Shows, based on proposals, received from them. The Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned a project for 3D Projection of various Indian monuments from all States/UTs on India Gate, New Delhi in the financial year 2013-14.
The details of initiatives/steps taken to attract Foreign Tourists and promote tourism in the country:
a) The Government announced Tourist Visa-on-Arrival in 2010. At present, it provides Tourist Visa on Arrival facility (TVoA) to the nationals of 12 countries namely Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Laos, Myanmar and South Korea. South Korea was added to this list on 15.04.2014.
b) The facility of TVoA was initially available at the international airport of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. However, with effect from 15 August, 2013 this facility has been extended through Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.
c) The restriction of two-month gap on re-entry of foreign nationals coming to India on Tourist Visa and Tourist Visa on Arrival has been lifted. d) Ministry of Tourism organised a two day training program covering 450 officials of Bureau of Immigration handling Tourist Visa on arrival at Kochi, Chennai, Goa, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad Airports.
e) Tourist Visa on Arrival fee payment can now be made by credit cards. Earlier it was only to be paid in rupees.
2. Low Cost Airlines:
The Ministry of Tourism regularly interacts with the Ministry of Civil Aviation in matters pertaining to air connectivity to the tourist destinations and development and upgradation of airports. Government has identified development of low cost airports in the Tier II and Tier III cities as one of the thrust areas.
3. Safety of Women Tourists:
The measures taken by the Ministry of Tourism towards safety and security of domestic and foreign tourists including women travelers are:
a) Grant of Central Financial Assistance to Governments of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh for setting up of Tourist Facilitation and Security Organisation (TFSO) on a pilot basis.
b) Adoption of code of conduct for Safe and Honourable Tourism which contains a set of guidelines to encourage tourism activities to be undertaken with respect to basic rights like dignity, safety and freedom from exploitation of both tourists and local residents, in particular women and children.
c) Letters have been written to all the Chief Ministers of the State Governments and Administrators of Union Territory Administrations to take immediate effective steps for ensuring conducive and friendly environment for all tourists and also request them...
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The 2013 UNWTO and WTM MinistersÂ´ Summit at the World Travel Market (WTM) will put a spotlight on the essential connection between air transport and tourism, debating the challenges and opportunities of promoting higher policy coordination between aviation and tourism.
Air transport, being an important factor in outbound or inbound tourism, plays a vital role in foreign tourist arrival in India. Therefore, the discussions on the matter must be considered as important for the tourism industry in the country. New alliances with tourism boards and airlines all around the world is needed to boost the business. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on all partners and stakeholders involved in passenger travel to work together to deliver greater value to passengers. This is a remarkable decision that will encourage travellers all around the world to visit foreign countries.
Air travel is one of the major part, travellers worried about in their journey. Addressing their issues is the most important thing for the sector to grow their business. According to IATA Director General and CEO, Mr. Tony Tyler, Aviation makes possible $2.2 trillion worth of economic activity and supports about 57 million jobs around the globe. Every day more than 8 million passengers take advantage of the safety, speed and convenience of air travel. Therefore, any new strategy implemented will work as a catalyst that makes big changes.
The alliances by airlines also play a major part in air transport. The recent joining of Qatar Airways in âOneworldâ shows a positive approach by major airlines that hold major part of the market share. These alliances give the consumer better offers, which encourage them to travel frequently. The initiatives by WTM and IATA are expected to give new possibilities for air transport and tourism to grow together. Let's hope for a better connected world that encourages people to travel and make the tourism industry to grow to a new level....