National Tourism Policy
The Indian government has released a draft of the National Tourism Policy, outlining key focus areas for the tourism sector over the next decade.
The policy identifies five main areas of focus: green tourism, digital tourism, destination management, skilling the hospitality sector, and supporting tourism-related MSMEs.
Challenges to be Addressed:
The policy aims to address issues that hinder the growth of the tourism industry, including perceptions of safety and security, weak engagement between the central and state governments, and problems with touts and low standards of cleanliness and hygiene.
In order to promote investment in the sector, the policy proposes granting industry status to the tourism sector and formally granting infrastructure status to hotels.
Consultation and Approval Process:
The draft policy has been sent to industry partners, state governments, and other allied ministries for feedback before it is sent for approval.
Impact of COVID-19:
- While consultations regarding the policy have been ongoing since 2014-15, the need for a well-thought-out policy has become more pressing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The industry, which has been severely impacted by the pandemic, has made numerous representations to the government for relief measures and tax breaks.
- According to data from the government, 21.5 million people working in the sector lost their jobs between April 2020 and December 2020.
The Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH), a key industry body that has been involved in stakeholder discussions with the Ministry of Tourism, has stated that the intent of the new policy is good, but added that “intent is only as good as its implementation”. It is important that the policy is effectively implemented in order to address the challenges facing the tourism sector and drive its recovery and growth.
Written by princy