Himachal Pradesh is bestowed with immense natural beauty and to witness it lakhs of tourists every years throng to the state. Tourism is a one of leading revenue generating sector for the state government, but still the state and union government have failed to harness its potential fully.
Hoteliers and others associated with the tourism related business blame for faulty policies for it. Giving opportunity to such people, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, has invited suggestions in framing tourism policy.
As per notification, the Ministry of Tourism is in the process of formulating a National Tourism Policy 2015 for development and promotion of tourism in the country. A draft Policy, based on inputs / suggestions received from stakeholders, eminent personalities and experts in the field of Tourism, State Governments and Union Territory Administrations has been uploaded on the official websites of the Ministry of Tourism, for inviting suggestions from general public.
Some of the highlights of the Policy are:-
• Re-visiting National Tourism Policy 2002
• Rounds of consultations held to obtain inputs for the Policy
ü Overseas tour operators
ü State Governments and Union Territory Administrations
ü Experts and veterans in the field of Tourism
• A concrete ‘Action Plan’ forms part of the Policy
• Focus of the Policy on Employment Generation and Community Participation in tourism development.
• Stress on development of tourism in a sustainable and responsible manner.
• An all-encompassing policy involving linkages with various Ministries, Departments, States / Union Territories and Stakeholders.
• The Policy enshrines the vision of developing and position India as a “MUST EXPERIENCE” and “MUST RE-VISIT” Destination.
• Setting up of “National Tourism Advisory Board” under chairmanship of Union Tourism Minister, with Tourism Ministers of States / UTs and domain experts as members.
• Setting up of “National Tourism Authority”, with representation from the trade and industry and interconnected departments/ agencies to execute the policy laid out by the Ministry.
• Includes aspects of Swachhta (cleanliness), Suraksha (safety) and Swagat (welcome).
• Development of core infrastructure (airways, railways, roadways, waterways, etc.) as well as Tourism Infrastructure (Swadesh Darshan, PRASAD, Buddhist Circuit, etc)
• Emphasis on skill development across all segments – setting up of a dedicated university for tourism & hospitality education.
• Emphasis on technology enabled development in tourism – social media, mobile applications, wi-fi connectivity at tourist centres, GIS technologies, etc,
• Focus on promotions in established source markets and potential markets, which are contributing significantly to global tourist traffic, with targeted and country specific campaigns.
• Online training programmes for international tour operators to create “India Specialists”.
• Play a more pro-active and decisive role at multilateral tourism fora under SAARC, ASEAN, IBSA, BRICS and others. Develop and promote common packages with SAARC and ASEAN nations on themes that link the countries such as the Buddhist Circuit, Ramayana Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Heritage Circuit, etc.
• Highlights the need for preparing vision documents / annual market intelligence reports on top source markets which would form the basis for Government and industry activities.
• Develop a common methodology for measuring footfall of international and domestic tourists for use by States and UTs.