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Hygiene major cause of concern: Sahay

Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay has said that lack of hygiene and cleanliness in India are a major cause of concern for domestic and international tourists. Chairing the meeting of the National Tourism Advisory Council he said, to address this problem the Ministry of Tourism is launching a major cleanliness drive under Clean India Campaign [CCI] initiative. Sahay said, ‘We want corporate houses, PSUs and banks to come forward and adopt important destinations to help keep them clean. The CCI will also involve other union ministries, state and local governments, NGOs, students of schools, colleges, and other academic institutions. I am sure that the collective efforts of all the organisations will not only increase the sensitisation level of our citizens, but will also bring about substantial improvement in cleanliness and hygiene at our destinations.’

The tourism minister informed the meeting that tourism economy in India has been expanding over the years. Except for a fall in 2009 due to the global economic recession, the Foreign Tourist Arrivals [FTAs] to India have increased consistently. FTAs in India during 2011 were 6.29 million with a growth rate of 8.9% as compared to the FTAs of 5.78 million during 2010. This growth rate for India is much higher than the growth rate of 4.4 per cent for the world during the same period. The first six months of 2012 too have also witnessed a growth of 7.8 per cent in FTAs.

Sahay said domestic tourism too has been witnessing continuous growth. The number of domestic tourist visits increased to 740 million in 2010 as compared to 669 million in 2009, showing a growth of 10.7 per cent. This huge size of domestic tourism helps to sustain the Indian tourism industry even when there is negative growth in international travel. ‘We need to look at the domestic tourism segment more closely. The majority of the domestic travel is for pilgrimages.

There is a need to enhance facilities at our major pilgrimage centers which receive a large number of visitors. If the growth of domestic tourism continues to grow at the rate seen in recent years, the number of domestic tourist visits in 2016, i.e. by end of 12th plan, will be 1450 million,’ he said.
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