Centre targets one percent of world tourism in 5 years

Bhubaneswar: Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma on Friday said the union government has set a target to share at least one percent of world tourism in next three-to-five years.

“To share one percent of world tourism, we need better infrastructure and for which we have to take the whole country together and understand the tourism potentiality,” said Sharma addressing the 50th annual convention of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association (FHRAI) here.

Admitting that the economic policies and infrastructure were not ready at present to meet the target, he said there was need of three lakh classified hotel rooms in the country by 2020 from present 80,000 rooms.

“We believe that tourism can not be a government’s job. All the stake holders including the hotel industries will have to cooperate to boost the sector that would generate more employment,” he said.

He also said that the government was focusing on medical and wellness tourism, given the potential of the country in terms of doctors and world class hospitals.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the state has immense tourism potential which needs to be explored.

“Odisha offers tremendous scope for tourism development. My government will provide all facilities to promote and market Odisha as a preferred destination for tourists. I would urge you to take advantage of all this and exploit this fresh potential,” he said.

Informing that the state was deep-rooted in heritage, culture and history that dates back to several centuries, he said, Odisha is endowed with the bounties of nature– a long coastline, green and dense forests, rivers and lakes.

He said Buddhism in Odisha is as old as the religion itself.

“It was only after 1986, major Buddhist sites of Odisha like Lalitgiri, Languri and Udaygiri having many monuments likes stupas, chaityas and viharas were discovered. The Buddhist sites have a huge potential for promotion of tourism as well as to carry on research activities. The state government will continue its efforts to attract more tourists to these sites,” Patnaik said.

He said since tourism industry was an excellent employment multiplier, the state government had taken tourism as a priority sector for economic growth.