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Vaccination is biggest confidence booster for Tourism: G Kishan Reddy

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Conference of Tourism & Culture Ministers of Southern Regions begins in Bengaluru

Bengaluru, 28 Oct: Union Minister of Tourism, Culture & DoNER G Kishan Reddy addressed the inaugural session of a two-day conference of Tourism and Culture Ministers of the Southern Region, here, today. Minister of State, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and MoS in Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Dr L Murugan; Minister of State, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Bhagwanth Khuba and Minister of State for Tourism, GoI, Ajay Bhatt, Secretary, Culture, GOI, Govind Mohan, senior officials from various Central Ministries, State Governments, Union Territory Administrations (UTs), Media and industry stakeholders were also present.
G Kishan Reddy said that, under the Prime Minister’s guidance and leadership it took only 281 days to administer100 crore COVID vaccine doses. There could be no bigger confidence booster for the revival of tourism than vaccination. “The Conference of the South Indian Region to discuss the tourism development strategy for the region is in line with the Prime Minister’s idea of Cooperative Federalism,” he added.
He pointed out that the Southern Region is unique in its offerings and the Ministry laid special emphasis on developing infrastructure, on-ground capacity, and skills. Under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme, which focuses on integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits, the Ministry has sanctioned 15 projects in Southern States worth Rs 1088 crores. “Under the PRASHAD scheme (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive), the Ministry has sanctioned 6 projects in the region that amounts to 15% of the entire scheme budget,” he revealed.
Recently, the Ministry of External Affairs at the request of the Ministry of Tourism appointed dedicated 20 Tourism Officers in Indian Missions abroad. This would help promote Indian tourism in Australia, Canada, USA, France, Germany, and Gulf Countries.
Dr L Murugan highlighted the importance of Religious & Spiritual Tourism in the development of the tourism sector. The PM’s vision of developing India as a multi-modal tourist destination is now being executed. He said while celebrating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, younger generations should be motivated to visit the memorials of the freedom fighters.
Minister Ajay Bhatt said, “Culture and tourism complement each other in today’s changing world. If culture is the soul of any society, tourism is the medium of understanding and knowing that society. If our culture is rich then tourism is the means of demonstrating this prosperity. The people of South India have understood this well.”
Union Minister Bhagwant Khuba spoke of the historical significance of Basavanna Kalyan in Bidar, Karnataka and Lord Basaveshwara. He urged the Ministry of Tourism to promote Bidar.
During the first day of the conference ADG of M/o Tourism, Rupinder Brar gave a presentation on the various projects/initiatives/programmes being undertaken for the creation of tourism infrastructure, marketing & promotion, and skill development programmes in the Southern Region. Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, V Vidyavathi gave a presentation on Heritage projects, monuments, and other cultural initiatives in the Southern Region. The potential of Cruise Tourism & Rail Tourism in the Southern Region was highlighted.
It was stated that Ministry of Tourism promotes India as a holistic destination, including southern region States & UTs, on various platforms in Digital, Print and Social Media. Since April 2020, under the Dekho Apna Desh campaign, the Ministry of Tourism has been conducting webinars on various tourism products. The Ministry of Tourism has concentrated on the issues of skill development in the sector, creating a pool of well trained and professional Tourism Facilitators.
As domestic tourism is showing a great surge over the last few months and as borders will open for international tourists, soon, building confidence and trust of the tourists is extremely important. In this connection, the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Tourism have already notified COVID-19 Safety and hygiene protocols. There is in place a System for Assessment, Awareness and Training in Hospitality Industry (SAATHI) to ensure compliance with COVID 19 Safety and Hygiene guidelines and to ensure safety and health of employees / customers. Till now, more than 10,000 accommodation units have registered under SAATHI. The hotel units in States and UTs of Southern region have shown a good response in registering their units on the portal. The Ministry undertakes development of infrastructure at tourist destinations under its infrastructure development schemes such as Swadesh Darshan (SD) and PRASHAD (National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive). In Swadesh Darshan, 76 projects have been sanctioned across India. Projects have been sanctioned under different themes such as Coastal Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Eco Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, etc. Under PRASHAD, 37 projects have been sanctioned in India.

Veteran journalist Upendra Sharma with Ajay Bhatt, Union Minister of State for Defence & Tourism, in Bengaluru, at the Tourism and Culture Ministers’ Conference of the Southern Region, being held at Taj West End starting today.