Budget 2023: Promotion of tourism will have been taken up on mission mode
At least 50 locations would be chosen through a challenge mode and will be established as a ‘total package of tourism’, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while addressing the Union Budget for the year 2023-24.
According to the Minister, these locations will be chosen through a challenge mode that takes an integrated and creative approach, with both domestic and international travelers as the main emphasis of tourism growth. All the aspects such as physical connectivity, virtual connectivity, tourist guides, high standards for food streets, and tourists security along with all the relevant aspects are to be available on an App to enhance the tourist experience.
The attraction for domestic as well as foreign tourists
Talking about the attraction for domestic as well as foreign tourists that the country offers, Union Minister Sitharaman stated, “There is a large potential to be tapped in tourism. The sector holds huge opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship for youth in particular.”
Sector-specific skilling and entrepreneurship development will be adopted to achieve the objectives of the Dekho Apna Desh initiative. In order to raise knowledge of the rich history and culture of India and to entice people to visit the country, the Ministry of Tourism established the “Dekho Apna Desh” program in January 2020. This project is in accordance with the Prime Minister’s address on the 15th of August 2019, in which he urged every citizen to travel to at least 15 places by the year 2022. It was launched as an appeal by the Prime Minister to the middle class to prefer domestic tourism over international tourism. The integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits, the Swadesh Darshan scheme was also launched.
Swadesh Darshan scheme would receive Rs 1,412 crore
The flagship Swadesh Darshan scheme would receive Rs 1,412 crore in allocation, up from Rs 600 crore in 2022–2023. 50 locations across 15 states will be chosen for promotion as part of India’s new destination-focused tourism policy under the redesigned Swadesh Darshan program. Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD), the Ministry’s other flagship program, will receive Rs 250 crore, almost the same as in 2022–2023.
While presenting the Union Budget, the Minister informed that under the Vibrant Villages Programme, tourism infrastructure, and amenities will be facilitated in border villages. She added, “States will be encouraged to set up a Unity Mall in the state capital of most prominent tourism center or the financial capital for the promotion and sale of their own ODOPs (One District, One Product), GI products, and other handicraft products.”
Promotion of tourism will be taken up on mission mode
The Union Minister reiterated that the tourism sector holds huge opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship and the promotion of tourism will be taken up on mission mode with the active participation of states’ convergence of government programs and Public-Private Partnerships.
On 31st January, Union Minister of Tourism & Culture G. Kishan Reddy launched ‘The Visit India Year 2023’ project, and also unveiled its logo, kicking off the year of ambitious plans and initiatives for increasing tourism in India. The launch also holds significance as India is hosting the G20 Presidency.
The Union Minister further stated that this year, over one lakh international delegates will come to India, where they will be shown the full range of Indian culture, including its festivals and landmarks.
To further the tourism potential, India’s first G20 Tourism Working Group Meeting is scheduled to be held at Rann of Kutch between 7th to 9th of February 2023.
Bhanu Chopra, Founder & MD, RateGain Travel Technologies Limited, said, "The key takeaway from the respected Finance Minister's budget for the tourism industry is the focus on leveraging technology to provide a seamless experience to both buyers and sellers. Tourism is one of the few industries that has crossed pre-pandemic levels of recovery, and a large part of that is because of the initiatives of the government in promoting domestic tourism, and the initiative taken to promote 50 destinations will only take this further."
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