Civil Aviation Policy revises to address the problems aggressively: Tourism Secretary

New Delhi, Apr 13: A Senior official of Tourism official said in an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi that the revised civil aviation policy of the union government will address the issues of opening up the skies and regional connectivity in a very aggressive and fulfilling manner.

“The latest policy of tourism is going to emphasize a lot on the possibility of increasing Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events (MICE) into India,” said Vinod Zutshi, secretary, Ministry of Tourism while inaugurating a ‘Thought Leadership Meet on MICE Tourism in India,’ organized by ASSOCHAM.

Regarding the e-visa for MICE, Zutshi, he said “We had a meeting with the Ministry of Home Affairs a few days ago, have taken the matter on MICE e-visa as well. We have been trying our level best for e-visa for MICE and medical and we are hopeful to have this e-visa will happen soon, particularly for business tourists to begin with. We are also insisting that ultimately the conference visa should be done, which we have been assured that it will be, step-by-step.”

Also he said that government had sanctioned 20 projects with an investment worth Rs. 2,000 crore for infrastructure under Swadesh and Prasad schemes under coastal, eco, wildlife, Buddhist tourism circuits.

About the tourism growth rate in India, he said, “We have got back the pace that we had during 2010 and 2014, touching as much as seven to 10%, after a short period of about an year in 2015, we are back in action.”

“In January and February itself have recorded as much as 9.6 per cent growth, as far as FTAs (foreign tourist arrivals) are concerned,” said Zutshi. “The domestic tourism is booming with 14% continuous growth rate and with an aim of achieving even more than 15% augurs well as far as growth of both domestic and foreign tourism is concerned.”

“I assume lot of credit goes to the peaceful and conducive environment in terms of law and order,” he added.

He also said “we need to identify coastal areas that can be developed as MICE tourist destinations in India, more so as there had been an investment worth Rs. 500 crore made in promoting tourism in coastal states. The union government is working with state governments to develop Khajuraho, Sanchi, Bodhgaya, Varanasi and Tirupati as MICE tourism destinations in India”

While talking upon the need for aggressive promotion, marketing and branding, Zutshi called for synergy between private tour operators and the government to promote tourism sector in India.

Zutshi said that India as a tourist destination had achieved lot of mileage from the foreign visits of the Prime Minister. “The kind of visibility India has gained in the form of visits of the Prime Minister all over the world, this is something by which we are drawing lot of mileage, the visit is followed by MOU, bilateral agreements, media coverage and the international conferences being held.”