The Kerala-born former bureaucrat turned politician will implement Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to make India the most favourite destination for world tourists…reports Asian Lite News
Indian Tourism Minister Mr KJ Alphons along with several state ministers and top officials are due in London to attend the 37th edition of World Travel Market at Excel in London on 6th November.Over three days, the world travel industry comes together as almost 5,000 exhibiting destinations, technology and private sector companies to find and network with 51,000 travel professionals, key industry buyers, digital influencers, students and tourism ministers.
This vibrant event offers the opportunity to discover the world under one roof, and be inspired by industry leaders discussing trends, issues and innovations in the travel industry Incredible India will set up one of the largest pavilion at the event. High Commissioner of India to UK Mr YK Sinha along with Mr Alphons will open the Pavillion on the first day of the event.
This is the first major international event for the new minister for tourism in India – Mr Alphons. The Kerala-born former bureaucrat turned politician will implement Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to make India the most favourite destination for world tourists. The Indian government is seeking a dramatic increase in tourist figures, both foreign and domestic, in a way that it helps to earn more revenues and generate employment.
According to the Tourism Ministry, in 2016 the foreign exchange earned through tourism was Rs 154,146 crore and the sector provides direct and indirect employment to over 40 million people. It is a major contributor to the nation’s GDP.
“The number of foreign tourist arrivals was 8.8 million in 2016. We want to increase it dramatically. We also want to increase the number of domestic tourists, which was around 150 million. The whole idea is that we want to generate revenues and be a huge contributor to the economy,” Alphons said.
“We don’t want people to just come, see and go. We want them to stay, experience India, shop and spend money,” said Alphons. “We have a 5,000-year-old civilisation, one of the oldest in the world. What is exceptional in India is that, along with the civilisation, we also have a philosophy. It is not only brick and mortar. It is much, much beyond it. The kind of spiritual and philosophical depth that Indian civilisation has, is unique.”
Asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s expectations from this ministry, Alphons said marketing India well to the world outside is very crucial.
“The entire thing is about marketing India, as we are an amazing, incredible and beautiful country. We just need to tell the world that we are a fantastic destination to visit. We want the whole world to come to India. They should come and feel the country and when they leave, they should say, ‘This was fantastic!'”
Asked about the steps needed to attract more tourists, the minister said better cleanliness and improved infrastructure are key focus areas of the government.
“Infrastructure has to be improved dramatically. Cleanliness has to improve, footpaths must be built, manholes must be covered, drains must be covered, they should not be encroached. It should be a hugely pleasant experience to walk around the cities; only then will foreign tourists go shopping.
“I am interested in generating money, because if we generate money that will create employment. They should walk around, laze around and feel comfortable. And that comfort we should provide. That means we have to improve our infrastructure around tourist destinations dramatically,” the minister said.
Kerala’s Minister for Tourism, Surendran Kadakampally will join a panel discussion on Kerala’s Unique Heritage and Cultural Tourism at the Nehru Centre.
Ever since the highly respected journal National Geographic Traveller selected Kerala as one of the 50, ‘must-see destinations of a lifetime’, Kerala has kept its place as a hugely popular tourist destination.
Kerala has been abundantly blessed by nature providing it with a most benign climate, some of the most outstanding scenery and backwaters. Besides, Kerala has an excellent environmental record. Man, the forests and wildlife have coexisted peacefully for centuries well into the modern age. Kerala has established itself so well in terms of tourism, with minimal cultural and environmental consequences. Cultural heritage tourism is perhaps the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry since there is a steady rise in the volume of tourists who seek culture, history, archaeology etc.