New Delhi: The government wants to make India an attractive tourist destination so that the country’s share in world tourist arrivals rises to 2% by 2025 from the present 0.68%, according to the draft of a new tourism policy released on Friday.

The tourism ministry has invited comments from the public on the national tourism policy by 10 May. The policy outlines the vision, mission and objectives that the country wants to achieve in the travel and tourism segment as well as detailed delivery mechanisms, product development, infrastructure requirement and the skill development that are required.

The move to float a new policy, which will replace the one in place since 2002, is in line with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s aim to make tourism a major driver of economic growth.

The contribution of travel and tourism to gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to rise by 7.3% a year to 1,658.7 crore in 2025, accounting for 7.6% of GDP, from 764.25 crore, or 6.7% of GDP, in 2014, as per data compiled by World Travel and Tourism Council, an industry body. Foreign tourist arrivals in India increased from 2.38 million in 2002 to 7.7 million in 2014, while global international tourist arrivals are expected to grow from 1.1 billion to 1.8 billion by 2030, according to United Nations World Tourism Organization.

The draft policy aims to strengthen India’s position as a welcoming, safe, secure, clean, hygienic and sustainable destination for both foreign and domestic tourists as well as enhance the brand image “Incredible India".

One of the key areas the policy looks at is to “foster and develop a coordination mechanism between the centre and the states and Union territories, and between the various ministries and departments" to create a framework that will also include and engage local bodies to drive the national tourism agenda.

It will also promote lesser known places and destinations based on India’s unique civilization, heritage, and culture rather than just focusing on gateway cities.

The government also plans to set up a National Tourism Advisory Board, which will be chaired by the tourism minister and have a dedicated secretariat and a corpus to undertake various promotional activities, according to the proposed policy.

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