SHILLONG, Oct 14 � Union Minister of State Tourism and Culture, Sripad Naik today said that the tourism sector would be a �game-changer� for the Indian economy and urged the Northeastern States to take advantage of the programme and policies of the Central government.
Inaugurating the 3rd International Tourism Mart, Naik said that the Central government has recognised �tourism as a priority sector�, which will prove to be a game changer for development and promotion of tourism in the country and eventually for the overall economy.
The Minister said that the Northeastern States must utilize the Central funds in a timely manner and also ensure that the projects that come up with Central government�s assistance are well maintained.
On one of the bottlenecks of the Northeastern region, he said that the Centre has identified connectivity as a key hindrance towards development and so development of roads was being accorded top priority.
�In order to improve connectivity among the Northeastern States an investment of Rs 3,000 crore for development of national highways and State roads in the region has been proposed. The improvement in connectivity will have a positive impact on the development of tourism and trade in the Northeastern region,� Naik said.
The Minister further said that as part of the government�s Swachh Bharat Mission, a massive mass movement that seeks to create a Clean India, which includes tourism spots, has been launched. He urged the State governments in the region to also carry out cleanliness drives in and around tourist spots so as to attract more tourists, both domestic and foreign.
The minister further gave out the figure of the tourism sector and said Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA) in India during the period January-August 2014 was 46.84 lakh. There has been a growth of 16.9 per cent in August 2014 over August 2013.