Union tourism and housing and urban poverty alleviation minister, Kumari Selja, addressing the media at Chandigarh, has said that both the ministries under her have vast potential for employment generation and convergence between the two is under active consideration of the government to utilise their full potential.
Addressing media persons, Kumari Selja said that the thrust area for the government will be the creation and improvement of tourism infrastructure, promotion and publicity of India as a preferred tourism destination in overseas markets, promotion of domestic tourism, development of human resource through skill development, skill certification and broad-basing the hospitality education, and most importantly employment generation.
She said that after a decline in foreign tourist arrivals, ranging between 10.6 per cent and 17.6 per cent during the first three months of the current year, as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year 2008, the month of May saw a decline of only 1.9 per cent as compared to May 2008.
Foreign tourist arrivals during the month of May 2009 were 295,124, which are almost on par with the figure of 300,840 during the same period in 2008.
The minister said, holistic and integrated development of identified mega destination/circuit is one of the priority areas of the government. Earlier, the ministry had identified 22 sites for mega tourism destination development out of which 20 mega projects have been sanctioned. Subsequently, seven more mega circuits/destinations have been identified for development in an integrated manner.
According to her, the ministry is also making efforts to develop wayside amenities in the identified tourist circuits through the National Highways Authority of India and with private sector participation.