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India wins “World’s Leading Destination” award

Posted on November 10, 2011
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blankIndia, on Tuesday, won recognition as the “World’s Leading Destination” at the World Travel Market 2011, currently on here.

It also bagged the “World’s Leading Tourist Board” award. Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai, who received the awards from Graham E. Cooke, president and founder of World Travel Awards, said five million tourists had already visited India this year so far and the target was to attract another five million over the next two or three years. This would help generate 25 million additional jobs.

He said though India started late in developing tourism it was determined to make it a success. Efforts to boost tourism included a move to remove visa restrictions that barred tourists from revisiting the country within two months of their first visit.

The issue was being “resolved’’. Mr Sahai said the aim was to increase India’s share in the International Tourist Arrivals from the present 0.6 per cent to 1 per cent –one billion travellers— by the end of 2016.

“Tourism sector is going to be recognised as the infrastructure sector. We need two million hotel rooms if we are going to add five million tourists. The infrastructure will be developed by the central and state Governments on the private-public participation model,” he said.

On the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, he said 1.6 million people had visited the valley this year.

Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora said the region suffered from a “perception problem”.

“Even a minor stone throwing incident is exaggerated as law and order problem. So far 1.6 million tourists have visited the state this year and before the season ends it will touch 2 million,” he said.

Hasan Suroor

8 Nov 2011

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2609016.ece

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