Need to make country low-cost tourist destination: Jaitley

India should aim to attract seven crore tourists annually, up from 70 lakh at present, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Sunday while stressing on the need to make the country a low-cost tourist destination with modern infrastructure and a larger number of inbound flights.

Mr. Jaitley said that States can play an important role in the formulation of tourism policy, which the government is working on to make India a more tourist-friendly destination.

“The country has huge potential in the tourism sector. Today about 70 lakh tourists come to India… We have to make the country a low-cost tourism destination,” Mr. Jaitley said in Delhi during the foundation laying ceremony of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Paryatan Bhavan.

The new complex would come up at an investment of around Rs 125 crore and would be completed in two years time.

“More and more flights should come to India so that tourists come to India… We are working in that direction. There is a need to increase it by five to ten times,” he said.

India also needs to explore the ships and cruise segment as a lot of tourists are travelling to different countries through that medium, the Minister said.

Mr. Jaitley also hit out at the previous governments, saying that no government worked for this sector in the last 68 years and their policies have rather adversely impacted the tourist arrivals in the country.

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