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16 Jul, 2013

Indian Tourism Minister: 180 Monuments up for “adoption” by corporate sector


New Delhi, Ministry of Tourism, 15-July, 2013 – Union Tourism Minister Mr K. Chiranjeevi has called for the active involvement of the corporate sector to “adopt important tourist sites and monuments as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects.”

Chairing the meeting of National Tourism Advisory Council here today, he noted that the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) has come forward and adopted the Qutub Minar. The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has adopted six monuments, namely the Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Elephanta caves, Ellora caves, Mahabalipuram, and the Golconda Fort. Steps are being taken for formalizing these arrangements.

He said the Ministry has identified about 120 Monuments across India that can be given for adoption.

NTAC is a ‘Think Tank’ constituted by the Government and comprises experts from various fields, representatives of industry associations like CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, PHDCCI, FHRAI, HAI, IATO, TAAI, ITTA, ADTOI, ATOI, IHHA, ICPB as well as Ministries of Finance, Railways,Culture, External Affairs, Urban Development, Road Transport and Highways and Planning Commission and advises the Government on various aspects of tourism with the objective of promoting domestic and foreign tourism in the country.

Mr Chiranjeevi said that safety of tourists, particularly for foreign women tourists, is an area of concern. He said a few recent incidents, where foreign women tourists were sexually assaulted, have generated widespread negative publicity for India. He said, “As law and order is a State subject, I have written to all Chief Ministers to take effective steps to create conducive and friendly atmosphere for all tourists”.

The Minister said the Tourism sector in India has witnessed substantial growth in the last decade. Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during 2012 have reached 6.58 million. The estimated number of domestic tourist visits in 2012 was 1027 million. Mr Chiranjeevi said, “Although the growth of in-bound tourism in India has been higher than the overall growth in the world, the share of India at 0.64% continues to be low. We have to strive harder to increase this share”.

The Minister said the huge size of domestic tourism helps to sustain the Indian tourism industry even when there is negative or low growth in inbound tourism. Because a substantial component of domestic travel is for pilgrimages, there is a need to enhance amenities and facilities at our major pilgrimage centres.

Uttarakhand, which is visited by a large number of pilgrims, has witnessed widespread damage in recent floods. He said, “The Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned a special financial package of Rs. 100 crore for restoration and reconstruction of the affected Government tourist facilities in Uttarakhand. This will be in addition to the Central Financial Assistance of about Rs. 95 crore already sanctioned during the current financial year for developing tourism infrastructure in the State”.

Appreciating the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism, the NTAC members gave wide range of suggestions on various topics including cleanliness and hygiene at Tourist sites, safety of Tourists, particularly women tourists, skill development in Tourism and Hospitality sector and wayside amenities.

Summing up the discussions Mr Parvez Dewan, Secretary (Tourism) said that his Ministry has been working in close cooperation with the private sector for development of tourism in India. He expressed the hope that views emerging out of the discussions held today would help the Ministry as well as the hospitality and travel industry to take longer strides in achieving our common goal of positioning tourism as an engine of economic growth.