The Ministry of Tourism celebrated the National Tourism Day by holding a two-hour program on a virtual platform today on the 25th of January 2022 under the aegis of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebration, marking the 75 years of India’s independence. The theme of this year’s celebration is Rural and Community Centric Tourism. Rural Tourism provides valuable commercial and employment opportunities for communities that are confronted with the growing challenge of offering viable livelihoods for their local populations.
The program was presided by Hon`ble Union Minister of Tourism, Culture and DoER, Shri G. Kishan Reddy, who was the Chief Guest for the event. The program was started with the opening remarks by Shri Arvind Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and followed by the addresses of Shri Upendra Prasad Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, Shri Govind Mohan, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Smt. Leena Nandan, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri G. Ashok Kumar, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga, Shri Anand Mahindra, Chairman of Mahindra Group and Col. Manoj Keshwar, Atulya Ganga Parikrama.
During the program, Hon`ble Union Minister of Tourism, Culture and DoNER, Shri G. Kishan Reddy launched the digital booklet 75 incredible sites to visit in India and Incredible India 2022 digital calendar by the Ministry of Tourism dedicated to tourism sites. Hon’ble Minister in his address emphasised on aggressive promotion of varied tourism products that India has to offer to the world. Tourism is one of the largest employments generating sector and it plays a vital role in direct and indirect employment. He also discussed the importance of domestic tourism and plans to start of Tourism Clubs to create more awareness among the students and youth of our country. Further he stressed on the promotion of tourism with special focus North-Eastern region and to tap the potentiality of the region. Hon’ble Minister shared his views on how to increase India’s share in global tourism market. Also appeal to connect with corporate sector under Adopt a Heritage project under corporate social responsibility. He spoke to utilise the competency of Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Railways etc. and how to empower the tourism in the country.
In the opening remarks Shri Arvind Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism spoke about how in India, the Tourism sector has emerged as one of the key drivers of economic growth. Tourism promotes national integration and makes citizens aware of the beauty and rich cultural heritage of our great nation. It also promotes inter-regional relationships and encourages cultural pursuits and providing support to local handicrafts. We have seen how the textile products of Pochampally and art forms of Raghurajpur have been a major tourism attraction both for domestic and international tourists. It is essential that such models are replicated in other parts of India to bring economic benefits from tourism to local communities to generate employment and bridge the cultural divide between urban and rural spaces.
Shri Upendra Prasad Singh, Secretary Ministry of Textiles, GOI highlighted the importance of Indian handloom and handicrafts that represents the rich culture and heritage of our country. He also spoke about how handloom & handicrafts and tourism goes together and how it helps to enrich the travel experiences.
Shri Govind Mohan, Secretary Ministry of Culture, GOI spoke about the interconnection between culture and tourism. India is home to greatest philosophies, temple structures, world heritage sites arts & crafts. India is a huge cultural repository and the facets of culture are many fold and unparalleled and we need to integrate them.
Smt. Leena Nandan Secretary Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change GOI emphasised on the importance of eco-tourism. She also shared her views on how we can tap the potentiality and growth of tourism in the country in a responsible and sustainable manner. To strengthen the livelihood opportunities of the communities & stakeholders who are directly or indirectly connected with the biodiversity of the country including tiger reserves, sanctuaries, marine zones etc.
Shri G. Ashok Kumar, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga spoke about the project launched for the holistic rejuvenation, restoration, conservation of Ganga Basin. Ensure effective abatement of pollution and rejuvenation of the river Ganga by adopting a river basin approach to promote inter-sectoral co-ordination for comprehensive planning and management and to maintain minimum ecological flows in the river Ganga with the aim of ensuring water quality and environmentally sustainable development.
Shri Anand Mahindra, Chairman Mahindra Group shared his views on tourism in India and importance of domestic tourism for national integration. India’s rich diversity and heritage can cater to different segments of tourists from modest budget traveller to an unmatched luxury experience.
Col. Manoj Keshwar, Atulya Ganga Parikrama shared his experience of Ganga Parikrama an initiative with a vision of Rejuvenation & restoration of Indian rivers and their eco-system. The Ganga Parikrama by foot started from prayagraj to Gangasagar and upto Gangotri and back to Prayagraj, a journey of 190 days, around 5530 kms touching various cities and villages on the way and millions of people on the way.
For active Janbhagidari and as an outreach program for the citizens, Ministry of Tourism has collaborated with MyGov and organised activities namely, National Tourism Day-Poster Design Contest, National Tourism Day- Caller Tune Contest, National Tourism Day – Picture Quiz and a write-up contest on ‘Unseen India’ – 75 Lesser-Known sites in India. These activities are open to everyone across India and the winners will be awarded exciting prizes.
The Government announced various fiscal and relief measures to benefit the Tourism Industry like providing financial support to more than 11,000 registered Tourist Guides & Travel and Tourism Stakeholders as well as issuing 5 Lakh free Tourist Visas. India has reached the historic milestone of administering 150 crore vaccine doses to citizens and started 2022 on a high note by expanding the ambit to include children in the 15-17 age bracket.
Tourism in the last two years has been affected world over including India due to the ongoing pandemic. In line with the Prime Minister`s call asking every citizen to visit at least 15 destinations by the year 2022 to promote domestic tourism, National Tourism Day celebrations will help to foster the awareness in country on the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political, and economic value. A gradual increase in the domestic tourism will help for recovery and growth in many folds of the society
The Government is taking cognizance of Rural Tourism – one of the areas in which India can excel. Recently, Pochampally village in Telangana was selected as one of the best Tourism Villages in the world by the United Nations World Tourism Organization for its crafts, reforms, and historical significance out of the three nominations namely Ladhpura Khas in Madhya Pradesh, Kongthong village in Meghalaya, and Pochampally village in Telangana, submitted by the Ministry of Tourism. The Ministry of Tourism proposes to organize a physical event at Pochampally, after the pandemic situation improves. Rural tourism can help to disperse tourism in highly populated countries; this directs tourists away from some of the more well-known, busy areas and provides work opportunities and economic activity in alternative areas.
The field offices of the Ministry of Tourism across India and conducted various activities to mark the occasion of National Tourism Day such as webinars, quiz competitions, elocution competition, Heritage Walk Incredible India branding at the airports, on the taxies. Institute of Hotel Management (IHMs), Food Crafts Institutes (FCI) and Indian Institute of Travel and Tourism Management (IITTM) also organised various activities such as Cultural Programmes, Rural Food Ethnic cuisine competition, Nukkd Natak etc.