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Foundation stone of Paryatan Bhawan laid; MoT unveils Medical & Wellness Tourism Board

Ashok Institute of Hospitality & Tourism Management & Tourism Vision Document 2030 unveiled

Monday, September 28, 2015, 14:00 Hrs  [IST]
By Akansha Pandey | New Delhi

The foundation stone of the official headquarters of the Ministry of Tourism (MoT), Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhayay Paryatan Bhawan, was laid on Mandir Marg in New Delhi yesterday, which was World Tourism Day. The foundation stone was laid by Arun Jaitley, Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, in the presence of Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Tourism & Culture and Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India.

Coinciding with this was the launch of Medical and Wellness Tourism Board, inauguration of Ashok Institute of Hospitality & Tourism Management – Centre of Excellence, release of the ‘Tourism Vision Document 2030’, and unveiling of the revamped website of MoT, in the Hindi language. All of these launches were done by Dr. Sharma at Hotel Samrat in the city.

A corpus of INR 2 crore has been allotted to the Medical and Wellness Tourism Board, which will be headed by Dr. Sharma. The Board will comprise members representing the related government departments, tourism & hospitality sector, and experts in the medical, wellness and yoga sectors.

Talking about the same, the Union Tourism Minister asked why India cannot cash in on the immense untapped potential of medical tourism, when countries such as Thailand and Singapore are doing extremely well in the segment. He noted that Indian doctors are well placed globally and play a key role in supporting the medical tourism sector of those nations. Internationally, the waiting time for patients to get a surgery done is too long, while in India it is minimal, he pointed out. With trained manpower, quality hospitals, and easy connectivity from across the globe, India can rapidly emerge as a prominent medical tourism hub, he suggested.

 Dr. Sharma added that Wellness Tourism, too, has great scope to be augmented further in India. The Board will assist in tapping the underlying opportunities, he asserted. “The time is now or never. We have the most congenial environment today. It’s high time we started putting ideas into action. With united support from stakeholders, I hope to achieve the 2020 target by 2018,” outlined the Tourism Minister.

Jaitley stressed that it is a must to increase India’s share in world tourism by making a strong tourism policy. We have to work on low-cost tourism to attract tourists, he added. “We need modern airports and maximum inflow of flights for attracting international tourists. India Tourism Overseas Offices should be opened in countries from where we receive maximum tourists. For creating quality tourism infrastructure, it is important to work in close cooperation with state governments,” he stated. The Finance Minister added that the upcoming Paryatan Bhawan will provide a base for working on all aspects of tourism and increasing the potential of tourism in India.

Vinod Zutshi, Secretary - Tourism, Government of India, stated that the initiatives being undertaken are driven by the enthusiasm of the central government and MoT. Tourism globally contributes to 6% of total world exports and plays a vital role in establishing peace among and within economies, he said. Tourism is an instrument of opportunity, he added, further urging stakeholders to deliver quality offerings that will shape the sector strategically.

The Tourism Vision Document 2030 details the challenges for the sector and the way towards Vision 2030. It has been commissioned by the Experience India Society and prepared by KPMG.

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