New Delhi: The domestic tourism sector is expected to attract investments to the tune of Rs 50,000 crore from around 600 projects during a three-day investors' summit later this month, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma said on Monday.
Claiming that India's image as a tourist destination has improved considerably, he said the country has witnessed upto 40 percent growth in tourist footfall from countries which have been visited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his last two years in office.
A 144 investors from 70 companies have already confirmed their participation in the first-of-its-kind mega tourism
summit-Incredible India Tourism Investors Summit-to be inaugurated by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on September 21.
"Around 600 projects would be showcased during the summit. We expect to attract Rs 50,000 crore investment...144
investors have already confirmed their participation in the event," Sharma said.
On whether Modi could be made the ambassador of the Incredible India campaign, he said, "We have provided you the
data....India has witnessed a growth of five to 40 percent in footfall of tourists from the nations where Modi has visited in the last two years, except Russia which has seen fall in overall tourists flow.
"The image of the country has improved considerably among the foreign tourists. The Prime Minister is the symbol of
Indian identity," Sharma said.
He said India has "everything that a country should have to attract tourists" but admitted that a "lot needs to be
done" for building world-class tourism infrastructure in the country.
Asserting that security of tourists is of "prime concern", the minister said India will be the first country to
launch a round-the-clock helpline number in 12 languages.
An investment desk is also being established in the ministry to help and guide investors. Better connectivity
through new and improved roads, new airports and railway stations would help the tourism sector, Sharma said.
To a question on tourism facility in the northeastern states, he said helicopter services would be started in areas
which are difficult to access by roads.
On the impact of the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir on the tourism sector, Sharma said in spite of the problems in the
Valley, India has witnessed growth in the tourist flow.
"Kashmir is an important part of India. There have been problems due to militancy..., but most of the people want
peace there. Tourism projects worth Rs 500 crore have been approved for Kashmir. In spite of problems there, India has witnessed a growth in tourist flow," he said.
On the delay in announcing Tourism Policy, Sharma said it is "almost ready" and the ministry wanted to unveil to after the announcement of the Aviation Policy.
Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi said the summit is a "platform" for both domestic and international investors to
meet project owners from across the states and Union territories and private sector. There will be participation from major stakeholders, including states and UTs with their ready to invest projects, banks and financial institutions, cruise liners, entertainment companies, helicopter services, hoteliers, restauranteurs, and
spa and yoga centres among others, he said.
To make the summit a success, the Tourism Ministry had organised road shows in countries such as the US, the UAE,
Thailand, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Joint Secretary, Tourism, Suman Billa said this is the best time to invest in tourism sector in India with increased ease of doing business, creation of new infrastructure, opening up of the economy and paradigm shift of government from "being a regulator to partner".
Billa said the CII and Tourism Finance Corporation of India Ltd are principal partners for the summit which has four knowledge partners, namely Ernst and Young, KPMG, Yes Bank and Invest India to assist states and UTs for identifying projects that have investment potential.