The tourism industry has the potential to become the “backbone of the Indian economy”, according to Dr Mahesh Sharma, the country’s Minister for Tourism, Culture & Civil Aviation.
Speaking at an Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) event in New Delhi recently, Dr Sharma said a successful tourism industry could help India earn foreign exchange and generate employment, as well as empowering women.
He added that the participation of the private sector should be maximised, in an effort to better promote tourism and meet government targets.
“The world has become a global village and tourism is a powerful tool to connect our country to the rest of the world,” Dr Sharma said.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Indian government has stressed its intention to develop the tourism industry and increase the country’s share of global arrivals.
To this end, the government has introduced several visitor-friendly initiatives, including a new e-visa scheme for tourists, which will be expanded to 150 countries next year, and e-ticketing for key attractions like the Taj Mahal.
In the first six months of 2015, India welcomed 3.85 million overseas visitors, 3.4% more than in the same period last year.