India dominates awards at World Tourism Mart

London: India stole the limelight at the World Tourism Mart 2011 here by wining two global awards-World`s Leading Destination and World`s Leading Tourist Board, Incredible India.

Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai received the awards from Graham E Cooke, President and founder of World Travel Awards, at the Excel Exhibition Centre where he said India planned to have another five million tourists in the next 2-3 years in addition to the five million recorded this year.

"We have recorded five million tourist arrivals this year and we want to add another five million within the next two to three years which will help create 25 million additional jobs in the country," Sahai said on Monday evening.

Answering a question on Visa restrictions on Tourists which prohibits a tourist from revisiting the country within two months of the first visit, he said the issue would be "resolved" soon. "We are going to remove this barrier."

Sahai said: "our aim in the Ministry now is to increase India`s share in the International Tourist Arrivals from the present 0.6 per cent to 1 per cent (of 1 billion travellers) by the end of 2016." He added "In India 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."

Sahai said: "We feel Tourism is the only industry which will help eradicate poverty from the masses. A traveller to India is contributing to the upliftment of the poorest of the poor in the country. We have started late (in developing the tourism industry) but we are on the job to make it a success."