Narendra Modi: India’s approach to tourism is based on ‘Guest is God’ approach

Public TV English
Public TV English
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NEW DELHI: India’s approach to the tourism sector is based on the ancient Sanskrit verse ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah’, meaning ‘Guest is God’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday and noted that the country’s diversity is truly majestic and has something for everyone.

The Prime Minister, who addressed G20 Tourism Ministers’ meet in Goa via video message, urged the dignitaries to take some time and explore the beauty of Goa.

He invoked the spirit of Incredible India and said that the tourism ministers rarely get a chance to be tourists themselves even though they are handling a sector worth over two trillion dollars globally.

The concluding and last G20 Tourism Working Group meeting along with the Tourism Ministerial Meeting is being held from June 19 to 22 in Goa.

PM Modi emphasized that tourism is not just about sightseeing but an immersive experience.

“Be it music or food, arts or culture, the diversity of India is truly majestic,” he told the gathering. “From the high Himalayas to dense forests, dry deserts to beautiful beaches, adventure sports to meditation retreats, India has something for everyone,” he said.

During its G20 presidency, India is organizing nearly 200 meetings in 100 different locations across the length and breadth of the country.

“If you ask your friends who have already visited India for these meetings, I am sure that no two experiences will be alike,” the Prime Minister said.

PM Modi said India’s efforts in the tourism sector are centred on preserving its rich heritage while creating a world-class infrastructure for tourism.

“From transport infrastructure to the hospitality sector to skill development, and even in our visa systems, we have kept the tourism sector as a focal point of our reforms.”

Referring to the General Elections to be held next year, PM Modi urged the dignitaries to witness the festival of democracy in the mother of democracy India — where nearly a billion voters will be taking part for over a month re-affirming their abiding faith in democratic values.
“With more than a million voting booths, there will be no shortage of places for you to witness this festival in all its diversity,” he said and extended an invitation to visit India during the festival of democracy.
Noting that India attracts pilgrims of every major religion of the world, the Prime Minister emphasized the development of spiritual tourism as one of the focus areas.
He informed that the infrastructure upgrade in the eternal city of Varanasi, one of the major spiritual centers, led to a ten-fold increase in pilgrims taking the number to 70 million today.
He also underlined that India is creating new tourist attractions and gave the example of the Statue of Unity, the tallest statue in the world, which attracted about 2.7 million tourists within a year of its inauguration.
In the last nine years, the Prime Minister said the government has placed special emphasis on developing the entire ecosystem of tourism in the country.
He highlighted that the hospitality sector has great potential for employment generation, social inclusion and economic progress while employing more women and youth compared to the other sectors. The Prime Minister expressed happiness that India is also recognizing the relevance of the tourism sector for the speedy achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.
The Prime Minister highlighted that the five inter-connected priority areas of green tourism, digitalization, skill development, tourism MSMEs and destination management reflect the priorities of India as well as the Global South.
He suggested greater use of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and augmented reality to drive innovation and highlighted that India is working towards artificial intelligence enabling real-time translation of various languages spoken in the country.
He expressed confidence that collaboration among governments, entrepreneurs, investors and academia can accelerate such technological implementation in the tourism sector. The Prime Minister also suggested working together to ease business regulations for tourism companies and assist them in increasing their access to finances and investing in skill development.
“Terrorism divides but Tourism unites”, the Prime Minister remarked.
He said that tourism has the potential to unite people from all walks of life thereby creating a harmonious society.
Modi expressed happiness that a G20 Tourism dashboard is being developed in partnership with UNWTO which will be a first-of-its-kind platform bringing together best practices, case studies and inspiring stories.
The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the deliberations and the ‘Goa Roadmap’ would multiply the collective efforts to realize tourism’s transformative power.
The Prime Minister highlighted the upcoming Sao Joao Festival in Goa and noted that India is a land of festivals.
“The motto of India’s G20 Presidency ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ can itself be a motto for global tourism,” he added.

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