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India PM asks citizens to become tourists in their own country

India PM asks citizens to become tourists in their own country

In a welcomed move, the normally critical travel industry  has welcomed India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at the Red Fort on August 15, when he asked people to visit at least 15 domestic destinations within the country in the next few years.

PM Modi’s focus on domestic tourism drew praise from the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) tourism and hospitality council Chairman, Subhash Goyal, who said that they were inspired by the address held on the country’s Independence Day and would evolve a strategy at the national level to promote travel.

Trade bodies will develop domestic packages to encourage people to see places so that 5 destinations are visited each year, making for 15 in 3 years.

A conference will be held in Srinagar, ASSOCHAM confirmed.

But the Prime Minister’s mention of domestic tourism attracted caution from people like industry veteran Rajendera Kumar, past president of the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), and director of the Ambassador Hotel in Delhi.

Mr. Kumar is a much-respected industry leader, and he pointed out that what was required first was infrastructure and connectivity for any plan to promote domestic tourism to succeed. He cautioned that mere talk of promotion will have little meaning in the absence of adequate infrastructure and better connectivity.

Generally, a lack of focus on tourism from government leaders, whether it be actions or speeches, has been received with adverse comment by travel and tourism industry leaders.

In this context, however, the mention of tourism at the August 15 speech from the historic Red Fort was overall considered significant.