LRG scheme expanded for hospitality sector

This was done to ensure that the tourism sector in India attracts private sector participation in projects such as cruise terminals, cruises in Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, skiing villages, private trains and golf courses.

"The LRG scheme is being expanded for hospitality sector and other tourism projects," Tourism Secretary R H Khwaja told a FICCI seminar here.

In its effort to boost tourism across the country, the Tourism Ministry will also seek Prime Minister's help to expedite the tourism infrastructure development.

"The Ministry will make a detailed presentation to the Prime Minister in May this year in a bid to ensure that tourism development takes place in a coordinated manner with the involvement of all the concerned ministries," he said.

Tourism Ministry also proposes to develop more rural tourism sites for the integrated development of tourism. Currently there are more than 150 rural tourism sites in the country.

"Besides developing more tourism sites in rural areas, we are also making efforts to accord infrastructure status to the tourism sector in order to give an impetus to the development of tourism infrastructure," he said.

The ministry has set a target of attracting 8 million foreign tourists to India by 2015 from the current level of about 6 million and expects 800 million people to travel within India in the next five years from about 650 million now.

The ministry is undertaking steps to relax medical visa norms to boost medical tourism.
"We are trying our best to resolve all issues related to medical visas. We have taken up with the authorities concerned including the External Affairs Ministry to address the issue," Khwaja said.

The Tourism Secretary said that states have been advised to set up monitoring committees manned by senior officials of the government so that tourism projects are implemented in a time-bound manner.

He expressed the hope that with the reconstitution of the National Tourism Advisory Council and the creation of the Hospitality Development and Promotion Board, approvals and facilitation of hotel projects will be expedited.

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