Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Special Schemes to Woo Foreign tourists: Tourism Minister Kumari Selja

The Indian government has initiated several schemes to woo foreign tourists following a sharp decline in the number of footfalls in the first quarter of the year because of the financial meltdown, Tourism Minister Kumari Selja told the Rajya Sabha Thursday.

The minister, in reply to a query by member A. Elavarasan, said her ministry, through its Indiatourism offices overseas, has launched a series of promotional activities to increase the number of foreign tourist arrivals (FTA).

The gamut of activities include advertising, participation in travel fairs, exhibitions, road shows, India evenings, workshops, food and cultural carnivals, publication of brochures, inviting media personalities, tour operators and opinion-makers to visit the country under the hospitality programme of the ministry, she said.

In addition, a Visit India 2009 scheme has also been announced by the tourism ministry.

The Marketing Development Assistance Scheme of the ministry has been expanded to provide financial assistance to service providers for the promotion of medical and convention and conference tourism in the country, the minister said.

Citing statistics, Selja said the number of tourist arrivals between January-June 2009 was just 2.47 million, which was nearly 9.3 per cent the number for the corresponding period in 2008. The year 2008 clocked nearly 5.6 per cent increase in the number of FTA over 2007.

In reply to another question in the upper house, she said the tourism ministry had assessed that the capital and NCR would require 40,000 hotels rooms under different categories for the Commonwealth Games 2010.

She said properties (hotels) were being developed by various private agencies in the capital, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to accommodate the visitors.