Assessment of the performance of Union Ministry of Tourism is talked about these days in public debates. The point is that people generally believe that the robust foreign policy of Prime Minister Modi must have brought us dividends in terms of increased tourist flow during the one year in the past. Dispassionate assessment of its performance brings to surface a few shortcomings but more positive points which are encouraging by any stretch of imagination.
Some observers are disposed to believe that controversy over Aamir Khan’s exit as mascot of Incredible India campaign caused some damage. Controversy was sparked over his perceived intolerance remark though the Government maintained its contract with the creative agency which had hired the actor for the campaign. As such this is neither a controversy nor can it be considered a negative point for the Union Ministry of Tourism. The other minus point generally talked about is that the Ministry has failed to announce Government’s Tourism Policy for the year gone by. However, this notwithstanding, the Union Ministry of Tourism has many feathers to decorate its cap especially during the year that has just gone by. 2016 was remarkable year in terms of achievements made. There was significant increase in the number of foreign tourists with 78.53 lakh overseas travellers arriving in India during the January-November period. It registered a growth of whopping 10.4 per cent as compared to 2015’s corresponding period figure of 71.14 lakh. In November alone we received 8.91 lakh foreign tourists, registering a growth of 9.3 per cent over 8.16 lakh in November 2015. It was feared that withdrawal of high currency could have adverse impact on the inflow of foreign tourists. This is not the truth. In fact the reverse of it is true. Our foreign exchange earnings during the past year has touched about Rs 1,38,845 crore as against 1,21,041 crore in the corresponding period in 2015. This year could be considered a good one for the tourist industry in the country, The Ministry also launched ‘Swachh Paryatan App’ for 25 ‘Adarsh Smarak Monuments’ protected by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) wherein travellers can lodge their complaints about uncleanliness in and around the identified monuments by uploading photos with remarks
In short, the Union Tourism Ministry has many laurels to add to its cap during the year that has just passed by. We welcome these achievements and hope that State Tourism Department will get a cue from these achievements and consequently ensure further progress in attracting tourists both national and intentional.