The Minister of State for Home told the Rajya Sabha that more than 15 lakh tourists visited the country during last one year. The spurt in foreign tourists has happened owing to the introduction of e-visa by the Ministry of External Affairs. E-tourist visa facility has been offered by the Indian Government to as many as 161 countries. A tourist of any of these 161 countries can fly in straight and obtain their visa at the international airport. This facility is followed only on reciprocal basis, and is called India’s new foreign policy.
We appreciate the new policy leading to increase in the footprints of foreign tourists. However, we have warned the Tourist Department many times in the past and through visuals, photographs and write ups etc. that in case of inability of ushering in an atmosphere of culture, we cannot depend on tourist industry more than what is within the limits of expectation. We need to streamline our tourism industry in a manner that it competes with the tourist industries in developed countries. Perhaps we shall need to introduce more tourist facilities and guidelines and bring more destinations under tourism umbrella.
As we talk about tourist industry, it is noted that students who obtain degrees in tourism and hotel keeping are often faced with the difficulty of finding employment in their respective profession. Maybe it is because of tough competition in the industry. It is also owing to small number of hotels and motels in our country taking into view the number of tourists visiting the country. The system of paid-guest tourism has become popular in European countries. But in our country and especially in our State this private tourism system has not gained popularity in a way it should. We hope that the Government will be inclined to address the issue as it could open the scope for more employments in the area of tourism and protocol. We are told that the pay-in guest system has gained some popularity in Ladakh and if facilities were provided by the tourist industry to the prospective households, there would be fair chance for the system to become popular.