30 May : Kumari Selja assumed the charge as the Union Minister for Tourism here today. She was welcomed by Secretary, Addl. Secretary, Joint Secretary, Addl. Director General of the Ministry and C&MD, ITDC.The Minister had detailed discussion with the senior officers of the Ministry. She emphasized the need for monitoring and review of projects sanctioned by this Ministry so that their timely implementation is ensured. She mentioned that the requirement of accommodation for the tourists visiting Delhi during the Commonwealth Games 2010 needs to be met at all cost. The Minister stressed the fact that tourism should be developed in sustainable and inclusive way which ensures benefit to all stakeholders, in particular the socio-economic weaker sections of the society. The Minister said that due importance shall be given to Domestic Tourism. The number of Domestic tourists was 527 million in the year 2007 and they travelled for pilgrimages and also visited cultural sites, adventure sites, wildlife parks and sanctuaries etc. This vibrant growth in the domestic market will be focussed so that the full potential of different products and segments is tapped.
She laid emphasis on man power development as a priority area as it will provide the skilled manpower required by the tourism industry. There is a shortage of 200 thousand skilled manpower every year. The augmenting of training facilities will create huge opportunities both for direct and indirect employment of manpower. Tourism at present contributes 8.8% to total employment but being a service oriented sector the contribution can be enhanced considerably.
The Minister wanted due focus on overseas marketing and promotion in view of Visit India Year 2009. There will be integrated marketing activities to promote Incredible India world wide and combat the impact of global recession.
She was of the view that the country will be greatly benefited by sustainable tourism in India being promoted through tourism sites. This will continue to be a thrust area since it is environment friendly and ensures that the socio-economic benefits of tourism reach the rural strata of society, thus leading to inclusive growth.