New Delhi, Aug 21 IANS | 3 months ago

Creating a safe environment for tourists and focusing on cleanliness were two of the many areas that states and union territories Thursday agreed to work upon at a conference here Thursday.

The day-long "National Conference of Tourism Ministers" deliberated on various issues faced by the tourism sector.

It saw participation from 18 tourism ministers and 16 officials from states and union territories as well as private players.

According to a resolution adopted at the conference, the stakeholders agreed to create a safe and secure environment for tourists, maintain cleanliness in and around tourist spots, develop and promote niche segments like medical and wellness tourism and agro-based, plantation and adventure tourism.

"It was also agreed that local communities will be involved to encourage 'pro-poor tourism', granting of licenses to hotels and the other tourism facilities will not be delayed and bed and breakfast schemes will be encouraged to augment budget accommodations," said a statement from the tourism ministry.

"All the participants assured to work towards skill development in areas specific to hospitality and tourism sector and identify new areas for skill development specific to monuments, historical places, archaeological sites etc. for enhancing employment opportunities," it added.

Minister for Culture and Tourism Shripad Yesso Naik stressed on the need to create a safe environment for all tourists, especially women.

"Safety and security of all tourists, especially women, remains the top priority for all of us," he said at the inaugural session of the conference.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who too was present at the event, said the tourism industry was a "low hanging fruit", and with a little bit of planning, the country could achieve far greater advantages.

"If India is to grow, if the Indian economy is to grow, tourism is certainly one of the low hanging fruits, which is more easily achievable. I have the least hesitation in saying that it is one of the underachieved sectors in India," Jaitley said.

"It is a sector which can create a win-win situation for every government," he added.

(Posted on 22-08-2014)

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