Ministry of Tourism: Year End Review 2019
The Voice of Chandigarh News: Travel Trade Reporter
Ministry of Tourism is committed to make policies and programmes for the development and promotion of tourism. This sector has the capacity to boost economy, foreign exchange earnings and provide large number of jobs at every level that’s why Ministry of Tourism continuously consults and collaborates with other stakeholders in the sector including various Central Ministries/ agencies, the State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations and the representatives of the private sector. In 2019 Ministry of taken several steps like reducing E–visa fees, reducing GST rates on hotel room booking, opening 120 new peaks for mountaineering etc. Along with these several steps taken under Swadesh Darshan, PRASHAD Scheme and various other events of Ek Bharat, Shresth Bharat were some of the important highlights for the ministry this year.
- India’s rank in Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) of World Economic Forum has moved from 65th rank in 2013 to 34thrank in 2019.
- Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during the period January- November 2019 were 96,69,633 as compared to 93,66,478 in January- November 2018 registering a growth of 3.2%.
- During January- November 2019, a total of 25,51,211 tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 20,61,511 during January-November 2018, registering a growth of 23.8%.
- Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) FEEs during the period January- November 2019 were Rs. 1,88,364 Crore as compared to Rs. 1,75,407 Crore in January- November 2018 registering a growth of 7.4%.
- Development of thematic circuits is being undertaken under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme. A total number of 77 projects for an amount of Rs 6035.70 Crore have been sanctioned till date under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
- Integrated development of identified pilgrimage destinations is being undertaken under the ‘National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive’ (PRASHAD) Scheme. A total number of 28 projects have been sanctioned till date for an amount of Rs.840.02Crore under this Scheme.
- The “Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan’’ project is a collaborative effort by the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India, State/ UTs Government for developing tourist amenities at heritage/tourist sites and making them tourist friendly, in a planned and phased manner. Ministry of Tourism has signed 27 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU’s) till date under the Adopt a Heritage project.
- e-Visa has 4 sub-categories i.e., e-Tourist visa, e-Business Visa, e-Medical Visa and e-Medical Attendant Visa.
- e-Visa is valid for entry through 28 designated Airports and 5 designated seaports
- At present, the e-Visa Scheme is available to nationals of 169 countries.
- E-visa has now been further liberalized to include the following:
- e-Tourist Visa of 5-year duration has been launched in addition to one-year e-Tourist Visa. This e-Tourist Visa for 5 years will be with a stay stipulation of maximum of 90 days’ multiple entry and non-extendable.
- A one-month e-Tourist Visa with double entry, has been launched.
- e-Conference Visa, in line with e-Conference Visa for Government/P.S.U. conferences, would be provided for private conferences organized by private persons/companies/ organizations.
- The Government has substantially reduced the visa fee on e – visa to increase tourism competitiveness of the country. New visa rates will be as under:
- 30 days e-TV (April-June) – US $ 10/-
- 30 days e-TV (July -March) – US $ 25/-
- 01-year e-TV – US $ 40/-
- 05 years e-TV – US $ 80/-
- The Government has opened more than 120 mountain peaks for mountaineering and trekking. The opening of the peaks would help in promoting adventure tourism in the country.
- The Government has reduced GST on hotel rooms with tariffs of ₹1,001 to ₹7,500/night to 12%; those above ₹7,501 to 18% to increase India’s competitiveness as a tourism destination vis-à-vis other competing markets in the region.
- Ministry of Tourism was designated as the nodal Ministry for organizing the “Bharat Parv”. The event was held at the Red Fort, Delhi from 26th to 31st January 2019, as part of the Republic Day 2019 Celebrations. It was organized on the theme of Celebrating 150 years of Mahatma. The highlights of the Parv included a replica of the ‘Statue of Unity’ created by Sculptor Padmashri Ram V. Sutar, performances by the Armed Forces Bands (static and moving), a Multi-Cuisine Food Court, Crafts Mela, Cultural Performances from different regions of the country, a Photo Exhibition by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and setting up of Gandhi Gram by Ministry of Culture (NZCC) in which 10 artists created paintings on the theme of ‘Ideology of Mahatma Gandhi’.
- Ministry of Tourism organized a Mega Fam Tour as part of the celebration of the International Day of Yoga (IDY) on June 21, 2019. Tour Operators, representatives of Travel Media, Opinion Makers, etc. from 20 countries participated in the Mega Fam Tour. A special event for Celebration of IDY was organized at Lal Bagh, Bengaluru on June 21, 2019 for the participants of the Mega Fam Tour. IDY was widely celebrated by this Ministry through its Domestic Indiatourism Offices in the country. An estimated 69 events having participation of more than 26600 persons including tourism stakeholders, Government Officials, tourists and the local communities were held in different cities around the country. IDY branding was undertaken during all these events and many celebrities were invited to create more awareness about the celebration of the IDY. India Tourism, overseas organized events in association with the Indian Missions to celebrate IDY.
- Ministry of Tourism organized State Tourism Ministers Conference on 20th August 2019 at Ashok Hotel, New Delhi. The Conference was attended by more than 18 Tourism Ministers and senior officials from the State Governments. Various issues pertaining to implementation of projects and developing synergy for grievance redressal and Safety & security of the tourists were taken up in the Conference.
- Ministry of Tourism has launched ‘Incredible India Tourist Facilitators Certification’ (IITFC) programme. The certification programme is an Online Learning Management System which aims at creating skilled manpower to work as tourist facilitators. The programme helps local citizens in harnessing the local experience and traditional knowledge for assisting tourists and to be a potential bread earner for their households.
- Ministry of Tourism has revamped the Incredible India website. It showcases India as a holistic destination, revolving around major experiences, such as, spirituality, heritage, adventure, culture, yoga, wellness and more. Going forward, the website will be available in Hindi and leading international languages. Hindi version of the Incredible India was launched in the Tourism Ministers Conference held on 20th August 2019 at Ashok Hotel, New Delhi.
- The Minister of Tourism and Culture led a delegation of senior officials of the Ministry of Tourism to Ladakh from 3-6th September 2019 to explore tourism potential of Ladakh and design appropriate policy interventions for tourism in consultation with the local authorities in Ladakh.
- The Ministry of Tourism supported India Tourism Mart (ITM) 2019 organized by Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) held at New Delhi from 23rd to 25th September 2019. About 240 international delegates from 51 countries participated in this event. The B2B meetings and networking sessions between the buyer and seller delegates were held on 24th and 25th September 2019. ITM provides a national platform for Government as well as private stakeholders with an opportunity to interact with foreign counterparts.
- The Ministry of Tourism organized the National Tourism Awards 2017-18 function on 27th September 2019 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. A total number of 76 awards under different categories were given during this function. The Hon’ble Vice President of India; Secretary-General of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Minister of State for Tourism & Culture (IC) gave away the awards to the winners.
- The World Tourism Day was celebrated on 27th September 2019 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. This year the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) had designated India as the venue for the celebrations. Its purpose is to foster awareness among the global community of tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic value and the contribution of the tourism sector in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2019, in line with UNWTO’s overarching focus on skills, education and jobs throughout the year, the topic of the World Tourism Day was ‘Tourism and Jobs: a better future for all’. Hon’ble Vice President of India was the chief guest for the inauguration of World Tourism Day. Union Minister of State for Tourism & Culture (IC); Secretary-General of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Tourism Minister of Paraguay and 82 international delegates were present on the occasion.
- The Incredible India “Find the Incredible You” campaign released globally by the Ministry of Tourism during 2018-19 has been declared winner of the PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Gold Award 2019 in the “Marketing – Primary Government Destination” category. This year’s awards attracted 198 entries from 78 organizations and individuals worldwide.
- Ministry of Tourism celebrated Paryatan Parv, 2019 from 2nd to 13th October 2019 at National Level. The Delhi leg of the Parv was organized from 2nd to 6th October 2019 at Rajpath lawns. The Central theme of Paryatan Parv – 2019 was 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi. The platform was also used to promote the idea of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’. On pan India level, various tourism-related activities were also organized by the State Governments, Line Ministries, India Tourism Offices and Institutes of Hotel Management etc., during Paryatan Parv – 2019.
- Ministry of Tourism in association with the State Government of Manipur organized the “8th International Tourism Mart” (ITM) at Imphal, Manipur from 23rd to 25th November 2019. The Hon’ble Minister of State (I/C) for Culture & Tourism and the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Manipur jointly inaugurated ITM on 23rd November 2019 at Imphal, Manipur.
ITM was organized in the North-Eastern region with the objective of highlighting the tourism potential of the region in the domestic and international markets. A total of 35 foreign delegates from 18 Countries, 79 domestic sellers from the North Eastern Region and 32 domestic delegates from the Western, Eastern and Northern Region participated in ITM – 2019.