Hyderabad, Sept 14 (INN): Union Minister K Chiranjeevi inaugurated the World Travel and Tourism Council, India Initiative (WTTCII), here on Saturday.
Inaugurating the council, Chiranjeevi said, “The recent disaster of Uttarakhand has left a lesson for us to learn. There is a need to build tourism activities in a sustainable manner keeping in view the carrying capacities of various hill stations and also create new destinations to cater to ever-growing urge to travel.”
Chiranjeevi went on to say that southern region of India in itself is a 365 day destination with attractions ranging from world heritage structures and magnificent temples, world class features to back-waters, majestic hill-stations to biodiversity hotspots, rich flora and fauna to varied tea, coffee and spice plantation. Inspite of South India being so blessed it is unfortunate that region is yet to exploit its full potential. This is due to lack of coordinated efforts among various states and union territories in the region.
Today, travelers do not want to travel only to one destination. They have multiple locations across states in their itinerary. So there must be resolution among states and union territories on certain issues such as, uniformity in taxes levied on various tourism related services, seamless travel, timely issue of clearances, need for hotel projects and hotel classification, charging of taxes on actual hotel tariffs.
On federal level there is need for rationalization of coastal zone tourism, rationalization of central taxes levied under tourism services, and declaration of tourism as export industry. He also promulgated the idea of Intra-regional Tourism Packages to offer most affordable and economic travel.
Chiranjeevi insisted on the constitution of South Zone Tourism Advisory Council in order to promote foreign trade in tourism industry. He emphasized on insuring safety and security of tourists.
Speaking on the occasion RV Deshpande, Minister for Tourism, Government of Karnataka, insisted on the protection of monuments, heritage structures, and culture of the area to attract more tourists. Deshpande also drew focus on the need for good hygienic toilets, potable water, and financial powers to tourism ministry.
Vatti Vasant Kumar, Minister for Tourism, Government of Andhra Pradesh, said, “While the international tourism is important as it contributes to foreign exchange earnings and maintains the balance of payments, the contribution of domestic tourism is also very important as it provides greater contribution in rural areas.”