National policy, ‘data-driven’ Incredible India campaign to boost tourism

Five lakh free tourist visas on the cards

New policies, campaigns and measures to give a boost to the tourism sector were among the announcements made by Union Minister for Tourism, Culture and Development of Northeastern Region G. Kishan Reddy at the two-day conference of Tourism and Culture Ministers of the southern region, which began here on Thursday.

“To utilise the huge advantage that the country has, the central and state ministries of tourism have taken several measures to boost tourism and encourage investments in the sector. Among these are a national tourism policy, which we wish to unveil after close consultation with the states and all stakeholders,” he said, adding that industry status to various tourism projects and loans to tourist operators and guides affected by the pandemic are also among the measures. A new “data-driven” Incredible India 2.0 campaign is also on the cards, he said, adding that the Government wanted to give five lakh tourist visas to international visitors to India free of charge and also extend e-visa facilities.

Karnataka Tourism Minister Anand Singh said that though the COVID-19 pandemic had raised questions about the tourism sector’s revival, the response to Mysuru Dasara proved that the pace was picking up. He spoke about the need for single-window clearance for film shooting at monuments to attract visitors. “Even in Hampi, near the Virupaksha Temple, a few places are barred to visitors. People should at least be allowed to see them. The Archaeological Survey of India and locals have differences of opinion in Hampi and this has been brought to the attention of the Centre,” he added.

Kannada missing

Amid the ‘Kannadakkaagi Naavu’ (We for Kannada) campaign being run till October 30, there was a minor controversy at the tourism conference where Karnataka Minister Anand Singh took exception to Kannada missing from the event. Kannada missing from an event being held in Karnataka is unacceptable despite the ongoing campaign and action will be taken in the future, he warned. After his intervention, a digital banner with Kannada was presented, a release from the Minister’s office said.

Mr. Singh also said Diwali was traditionally celebrated by lighting lamps and bursting firecrackers and this “cannot be stopped abruptly”. However, he also urged people to reduce the use of firecrackers.

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