By Rai Umraopati Ray
The G20 initiative, according to Shripad Yesso Naik, Union Minister of State for Tourism, Govt of India, has set the stage for India to bask in the limelight. He confidently stated, “G20 Initiative has set the stage for India to become one of the favourite international destinations for world travellers.” The global fraternity, it seems, is finally recognising India’s rich tapestry of culture, heritage, and natural beauty.
While the international scene is abuzz, Naik also heaped praises on domestic tourism, noting its resilience in challenging times. “Equally, domestic tourism has saved the day for India’s Travel & Tourism sector. We encourage our people to explore the beauty and diversity of India through programmes like Dekho Apna Desh,” he proudly proclaimed at FMITC 2023 (Fairview Media International Tourism Conclave), Goa.
A noteworthy mention was made of the government’s initiatives in promoting river and coastal tourism. “River & Coastal Tourism is on the rise due to several policy initiatives of the government. It is the next big thing for India’s travel and tourism sector,” Naik announced, pointing towards uncharted territories waiting to be explored.
The magnification of the country’s airport infrastructure hasn’t gone unnoticed. He heralded the rise in air travel and emphasised, “With the augmentation of airport infrastructure all across the country, there has been an unprecedented rise in air travel, opening tourism opportunities for a number of destinations.”
Naik also delved deep into the health and wellness tourism sector. The numbers spoke volumes. Over 1.4 million medical tourists flocked to India in the past year, placing the nation on the global map as a top medical tourism destination. Beyond the figures, Naik’s plea resonated with many: a collective effort towards a more sustainable and holistic approach to tourism.
His commitment to sustainability was clear. “India is creating a conducive environment for the tourism sector to contribute to economic growth, environmental protection, and social well-being in a sustainable manner,” he elaborated. Amplifying this sentiment, Naik highlighted the nation’s strides towards the Sustainable Development Goals through numerous activities and strategies.
One such pivotal move is the Ministry of Tourism’s ‘Travel for LiFE’ programme, conceived to induce behavioural changes among tourists and businesses alike. “The programme holds tremendous significance for promoting India’s G20 priority of Green Tourism under the Tourism Working Group,” stated Naik.
Drawing attention to G20’s meet at Goa which talked about Green Tourism, Naik praised, “The Goa Roadmap for tourism as a vehicle for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is a pioneering global effort.”
His vision concluded with an ambitious goal, aiming for the tourism sector’s contribution to touch a USD 1 trillion GDP by 2047. It’s a testament to India’s potential and a call to action for the world to recognise its ascendancy in the tourism landscape.