15 new tourist destinations to be developed: Ambika Soni

15 new tourist destinations to be developed: Ambika Soni

New Delhi: Giving a fillip to India’s image of being a cost effective tourist destination in Asia, Ambika Soni, minister of tourism and culture confirmed that 15 new tourism destinations will be developed in a holistic manner across the country in a pilot project that would involve the centre, states and private sector in addition to four international shopping festivals.

She assured that public-private sector partnership would be more inclusive through the various projects proposed to be initiated by the tourism ministry such as rural tourism and promoting home stays.

The government would encourage creating student guide banks that the hospitality sector can tap. In an effort to bring about greater transparency and efficiency, she said that the government would want to move out of tourism and culture so that there is less of government and more tourists.

To have a skilled workforce there is need to set up new training institutes and upgrade existing ones. She said the tourism industry needs about 30,000 skilled and semi skilled workers, for which the government is encouraging setting up institutes to create new skill sets amongst people.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum at a session on ‘Key Challenges Ahead’ Christopher J. Graves, president and CEO, Asia Pacific, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Hong Kong SAR said that improving governance, reducing corruption, skilling the Indian workforce and checking environmental degradation were going to be key areas of concern in the immediate future.

Ben J. Verwaayen, CEO, BT, United Kingdom pointed out that corruption in bureaucracy was the biggest stumbling block. Praising the emergence of social entrepreneurs and their coming into the limelight, creating appropriate environment and commitment from the corporate world would help sustain the spirit of social entrepreneurship.