Millennium Post

Chiranjeevi stresses need to enhance amenities at major pilgrimage centres

Union tourism minister K Chiranjeevi has said that safety of tourists, particularly for foreign women tourists, is an area of concern. Chairing the meeting of National Tourism Advisory Council here on Monday he said a few recent incidents, where foreign women tourists were sexually assaulted, have generated widespread negative publicity for India. K Chiranjeevi said, ‘As law and order is a state subject, I have written to all chief ministers to take effective steps to create conducive and friendly atmosphere for all tourists’.

The tourism minister said the tourism  sector in India has witnessed substantial growth in the last decade. The Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during 2012 have reached 6.58 million. The estimated number of domestic tourist visits in 2012 was 1027 million.  Chiranjeevi said, ‘although the growth of in-bound tourism in India has been higher than the overall growth in the world, the share of India at 0.64 per cent continues to be low. We have to strive harder to increase this share’.

The minister was of the opinion that huge size of domestic tourism helps to sustain the Indian tourism industry even when there is negative or low growth in inbound tourism. He said, ‘We will, therefore, continue to promote domestic tourism also’. Referring to religious tourism he said a substantial component of domestic travel is for pilgrimages. There is a need to enhance amenities and facilities at our major pilgrimage centres. Uttarakhand, which is visited by a large number of pilgrims, has witnessed widespread damage in recent floods. He said, ‘As you may be aware, Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned a special financial package of Rs. 100 crore for restoration and reconstruction of the affected government tourist facilities in Uttarakhand.
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