New Delhi [India]: Calling tourism a major engine of economic growth, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday stressed on the aspect of 'ethics' in travel and said that tourism should benefit the people and environment in different destinations.
On the occasion of World Tourism Day, Naidu urged all the stakeholders of the industry to be especially mindful of their ecological footprint and he further called for more responsible and sustainable tourism practices.
"Tourism is the major engine of economic growth and an important source of employment and foreign exchange earnings in many countries. Tourism in India has tremendous potential, considering the country's rich cultural and historical heritage, varied ecology, terrains, and places of natural beauty spread across the country," said Naidu.
Highlighting India's tremendous potential in the field of medical tourism, he said that our country must leverage its ancient practices of healing such as Ayurveda and Yoga to attract more tourists who seek holistic wellness.
The Vice President expressed happiness over the fact that both developed and less developed economies wherein the travel and tourism industry has employed a far higher proportion of women than other sectors.
He urged more women to explore career opportunities in the tourism sector.
Noting that India had been placed at 34th position out of 140 economies, in the World Economic Forum's 'World Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Rank' in 2019, Naidu stated that it remained the sub-region's most competitive travel and tourism economy.
Expressing his concern over the problem of pollution, he asked service providers to make sustainability and conservation an integral part of their business plans.
"Adopt a more judicious approach to the consumption of resources so that future generations also have the opportunity to avail of all the benefits of tourism," he said.
Stressing on the need to keep in mind the aspect of 'ethics' in travel, Naidu said that tourism should benefit people and the environment in different destinations.
"It should offer better income to families living in the area, by sourcing products and services locally. It should serve as a tool for the empowerment of local communities," he asserted.
Outlining the steps taken by the government to make the country accessible and safe for the travellers, Naidu applauded the liberalized visa regime and said that it would certainly stimulate business and investment, along with tourism.
He also called for augmenting and upgrading tourism infrastructure and urged the corporate sector to supplement the efforts of the governments in this regard.
The Vice President urged people, especially the youth, to visit at least 15 tourist destinations within India by 2022 to give a boost to the domestic tourism, as per the suggestion made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He advised tourism service providers to continuously strive for service excellence and to make conservation and sustainability an integral part of their business model.
The Vice President met Paraguay's Tourism Minister on the sidelines of the event and held discussions about India-Paraguay co-operation in the field of tourism. He also met Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of UNWTO.