Union Minister of State for Tourism (independent charge) K. Chiranjeevi on the 2013 strategy to increase India’s slice of the tourism pie

The Union Ministry of Tourism is in the process of developing a multi-pronged strategy to increase India’s share in global tourist arrivals. Towards this end a thrust is being given to promoting film tourism, developing better infrastructure, overcoming manpower shortages through professional skill development and undertaking an aggressive promotional and marketing for brand ‘Incredible India’, says Mr Chiranjeevi in a free-wheeling talk with The Hindu.

What is the Tourism Ministry’s agenda for the year? 

Tourism in India has the potential to promote faster, sustainable and more inclusive growth. It could be used as a powerful antidote to tackle poverty. We have prepared a multi-pronged strategy to increase India’s share in global tourist arrivals by developing world-class infrastructure, overcoming the dearth of manpower through professional skill development and undertaking aggressive promotional and marketing activities. The primary objective is to double tourist arrival from the present 6.31 million to 12 million by the end of 2016. This will create additional employment of about 2.5 crore jobs in the sector, both direct and indirect.

How are the funds of nearly Rs. 15,000 crore allocated to the Ministry during the 12th Plan being utilised?

The Tourism Ministry is proposing utilisation of more than 50 per cent of the allocation to augment tourism infrastructure in the country. It will also allocate sufficient amounts to various other schemes like overseas promotion and publicity, capacity building and assistance for setting up and up-gradation of Institutes of Hotel Management & Catering Technology & Applied Nutrition (IHMs), Food Craft Institutes (FCIs) during the 12th Plan. We have proposed a total budget outlay of Rs.1,773.79 crore during 2013-14. The outlay for 2012-13 was Rs. 1,210 crore; however, it was reduced to Rs. 950 crore.

How many foreign tourists came to India in 2102 and how much revenue did it generate? What is the potential for a growth in inbound tourism in the coming years?

Foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in India during 2010, 2011 and 2012 were 5.78 million, 6.31 million and 6.65 million respectively. The growth rate in FTAs during 2011 over 2010 was 9.2 per cent as compared to 11.8 per cent during 2010 over 2009. The growth rate of 9.2 per cent in 2011 for India was better than growth rate of 5 per cent for International Tourist Arrivals in 2011. The foreign exchange earning during 2012 was Rs. 94,487 crore ($17.74 billion). India’s share in international tourist arrivals was 0.64 per cent during 2011. However, this can be improved.

What measures are being taken to promote India as an attractive destination to foreign film production houses? 

The Ministry of Tourism has identified ‘film tourism’ as a niche tourism product. Recognising the importance of cinema as a powerful tool for the development and promotion of various tourist destinations, the Ministry has announced several initiatives for promoting film tourism through films being shot in India. The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Ministry of Tourism have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance the reach of brand “Incredible India” through the medium of cinema — developing synergy between tourism and film industry and providing a platform to enable partnerships between the Indian and global film industry.

We have has also written to all the States and Union Territories to recognise the potential of film tourism and constitute special bodies/cells to facilitate filming in their respective States and UTs. The widely acclaimed film Life of Pi has been partly shot in the beautiful locales of Puducherry and Munnar in Kerala.

A “Land of Pi” campaign will be launched soon across all media, including print, online, electronic and outdoor, to promote Puducherry and Munnar as tourist destinations.

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