Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation Dr. Mahesh Sharma has said that the coordination between tourism and airlines industries is crucial for promoting tourism in the country. He said the Government believes in bringing all stakeholders together to discuss how the air transport industry can best contribute to the development of tourism. He was speaking at an “Interaction between Tourism and Airlines” organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Civil Aviation in association with Federation of Association in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) here today. The Minister informed that the Government has set up an agenda of 25 actionable points for the year 2015 to promote tourism.
Dr. Sharma said that the implementation of Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) enabled Visa on Arrival, for 43 countries, is showing excellent results and the Government is hopeful that this facility will be extended to all remaining countries in the near future. He informed that as on 21 January 2015, (less than 2 months from the launch of this facility) 41,114 TVOAs have been issued. Expressing happiness over positive growth of both international and domestic tourism, he said Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during 2014 were 74.62 lakh with a growth of 7.1% as compared to the FTAs of 69.68 lakh in 2013.
The Minister underlined that the true potential of the country is much more. A target of increasing the tourist arrivals to 10 million in near future has been setup. Dr. Sharma said that the airlines sector is an important part of the supply chain for “Make in India” in Tourism sector. He said over 90 percent international tourists arrive in India by air. The Minister added that the growth of aviation depends on good commercial decisions, and on the quality and capacity of India’s airports, and the other highly visible infrastructure associated with aviation.
The delegates from airlines and tourism industries deliberated on various issues concerning promotion of tourism and increasing connectivity. The issues raised included better airport infrastructure, security measures including women’s safety, increasing immigration counters, cleanliness, e-visa facility etc. Dr. Sharma assured that whatever issues were discussed during the interaction will be addressed within a definite time frame.