Need infra boost to promote tourism: Survey

The Economic Survey 2018-19 called for coordinated efforts by government and various stakeholders to promote tourism which has witnessed a slowdown in 2018-19.

Tourism sector is a major engine of economic growth that contributes significantly in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), foreign exchange earnings and employment, it said.

"The coordination mechanism of various like-minded ministries and stakeholders to resolve issues for promotion of tourism in the country needs to be strengthened," the survey said.

The state/union territory governments need sensitisation about tourism as a major driver of employment and poverty alleviation, the survey said, adding that budgetary allocation for development of tourism infrastructure should be increased.

It said land should be made available for hotels. Besides, land should be reserved for hotels in all new townships under planning.

Among other issues, the survey also pointed out the need for fast-track clearance for hotel projects, increasing skill development efforts to train more persons and making taxation regime on hospitality industry globally competitive.

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The tourism sector in India has witnessed a slow down in 2018-19, with the growth rate of foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) declining to 2.1 per cent from 14.2 per cent in the previous fiscal year, the survey said.

"The FTAs in 2018-19 stood at 10.6 million compared to 10.4 million in 2017-18. In terms of growth, the growth rate of FTAs declined from 14.2 per cent in 2017-18 to 2.1 per cent in 2018- 19," it said.

Foreign exchange earnings (FEEs) from tourism stood at USD 27.7 billion in 2018-19 as compared to USD 28.7 billion in 2017-18, the survey said. 

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