New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said while terrorism divides, tourism has the potential to unite people from all walks of life.
Addressing the G20 Tourism Ministers’ meet held in Goa via video conference from New York, the Prime Minister said, “Terrorism divides but tourism unites, and it has the potential to unite people from all walks of life… India’s efforts in the tourism sector are centred on preserving its rich heritage while creating a world-class infrastructure for tourism”.
Noting that India attracts pilgrims of every major religion of the world, the Prime Minister emphasised the development of spiritual tourism as focus areas.
He informed that the infrastructure upgrade in the eternal city of Varanasi, one of the major spiritual centres, led to a ten-fold increase in pilgrims, and the number has gone up now to 70 million.
In the last nine years, the Prime Minister said, “we have placed special emphasis on developing the entire ecosystem of tourism in the country”.
“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”, Modi said.
He also 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 recognising the relevance of the tourism sector for the speedy achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.
Modi said the five inter-connected priority areas of Green Tourism, Digitalisation, Skill Development, Tourism MSMEs, and Destination Management reflect the priorities of India as well as those of the Global South.
Talking about the G20, Modi pointed out 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 realise tourism’s transformative power.
“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.