Thursday, June 13, 2024
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‘Accord priority to tourism sector’

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Second regional conference of Tourism ministers of Eastern and N-E states held in city

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kanti Sahai on Friday called upon the Eastern and Northeastern states to make tourism their topmost political and economic agenda.

”No other sector can generate as much jobs as tourism can and many states are not realising this,” Sahai said while addressing media persons on the sidelines of the Second Regional Conference of Tourism Ministers of Eastern and Northeastern states here in the city.

”Tourism has emerged as a major player in economic growth and employment generation where till 2010, the sector has been able to provide 53 million jobs; and by 2016, the target statistics is 78 million,” Sahai added.

This, the Union Minister said, could happen only if there was a convergent effort to offer tourism destinations opportunities like good connectivity, infrastructure and introducing theme parks and marketing of local products.

Sahai also informed that in the 12th Five Year Plan the Ministry of Tourism is planning to construct integrated tourism park like theme park to wellness park so that it can be converted to a complete destination for tourists thereby generating more to the economic growth.

”This venture will be developed under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode,” he stated.

Referring to initiatives for the Northeastern region, Sahai said his Ministry would extend Central financial assistance to the state governments for infrastructure development at selected tourist destination and circuits.

“For the Northeastern region, a study has been carried out for identification and development of tourism infrastructure by the Ministry of DoNER,” the Minister added.

“We are sincerely thinking in terms of promoting the region as a tourist destination in the world market. The Centre would provide all the financial support needed for developing the required infrastructures in all major destinations in the region,” Sahai said.

“The Centre has turned its attention towards the region after seeing the curiosity among foreign tourists about the tourist destinations in the North East region during the recently-held World Tourism Market international fair in London.

“We are looking to convert the implementation of the various tourism projects on a mission mode in-line with the JNNURM pattern,” he said.

“Under the coming 12th Five Year Plan period beginning from 2012, the Tourism Ministry has proposed to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to allocate a total of Rs 22,000 crore for the tourism sector out of which the fund allocation for the North east region would be Rs 600 crore,” he informed.

“We are planning to create 2.5 to 3 crores of new jobs during the 12th Five Year Plan period,” Sahai said, while adding that the Centre would provide 100 per cent financial assistance to the State Government for initiating Skill Development Programme (SDP) for those youths who are keen to be absorbed in the tourism sector.

Earlier, the Union Tourism Minister asked the respective state governments to constitute high-level committee in line with the High-Level Inter-Ministerial Group which has been constituted at the Centre as suggested by the Prime Minister.

“This high-level committee should be a driving force in our efforts to transform the nation as a major tourist destination. I personally feel that this committee should be headed by none other than the Chief Minister himself,” Sahai said.

While emphasizing that the Centre alone cannot carry out its objective, he said that the role of the State is very crucial in building the nation as the major tourism destination. (With inputs from Agencies)

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