India in 3rd position in tourism sector after China, US: Minister
India attained third position in the tourism sector after China and the US and 13.92 million jobs have been created in the sector in the last four years, Union Tourism Minister K.J. Alphons said here on Thursday.
"...We want to achieve more, both in foreign tourists' arrival in the country and earning from tourism sector," he said at the 7th edition of the International Tourism Mart here.
Alphons said: "Last year domestic tourists increased by seven per cent from the previous year while foreign tourists increased by 14 per cent. Over 13.92 million jobs have been created in the tourism sector in the last four years.
"There are many incredible things and natural splendours in the northeastern region. Northeast India would be the hub of the Government's 'Act-East Policy'."
Union Tourism Secretary Rashmi Verma said that under the "Swadesh Darshan" scheme, 15 centrally funded major tourism projects are now under implementation in the eight northeastern states with an allocation of Rs 1,300 crore.
"Only the Tourism Ministry out of all the central ministries are spending more amounts in the northeastern region than the stipulated 10 per cent," she said.
According to an official document of the central government, over 10.04 Million foreign tourists visited the country last year, an increase of 14 per cent as compared to 2016 data. Rs 177,874 crore was earned in Foreign Exchange in 2017 by the tourism sector.
The 7th edition of the International Tourism Mart, an annual event organised in the northeastern region, began here on Thursday to showcase the tourism potential of the mountainous region before the domestic and international markets.
Addressing the mart, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb urged the investors and industrialists to invest more funds to develop the tourism sector in the state and the state government is ready to provide land and other logistical supports to the financiers and industrialists.
In all 53 foreign delegates from 18 countries took part in the three-day mart. Among them were China, USA, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Australia, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, UAE, Canada, France, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Netherlands and New Zealand.
"Familiarization tours to the northeastern states have been arranged for the international delegates to create awareness about the rich and varied tourism products of the region and to give them a first-hand experience of the destination," Tripura Tourism Minister Pranajit Singha Roy told the media.
An exhibition by Tourism Departments of the eight northeastern states including display of beautiful and valued handicrafts and handlooms is organised to underscore the tourism significance of these states.
Singha Roy said that besides the foreign delegates, 26 domestic tour operators from different parts of the country and 82 sellers from the northeastern states participated in the mega event.
Officials of state tourism departments of the eight states would showcase their tourism destinations and interact with the foreign and domestic delegates.
Tripura Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki and top officials from central ministries and northeastern states were present in the opening ceremony of the mart.-IANS