Indian tourism is looking up and how. With an initial outlay of Rs 1,000 crore, 20 theme parks, on the lines of Sentosa (Singapore) and Cancun (Mexico), are being mulled in a strategy note prepared by the tourism ministry.
The strategy was encapsulated in a recent presentation by tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahai in a presentation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the targets and potential of the sector for the 12th Five Year Plan.
"Efforts are on to gain approval for the theme parks some of which have already been agreed to in principle. Already a inter-ministerial committee has been set up by the PM to coordinate issues facing the tourism ministry," said a government source.
The Centre, besides providing core infrastructure and tax incentives, will provide R50 crore for every park with the rest being raised from state governments and private entities in Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode.
The states besides providing the land will provide tax incentives, speedy clearances, higher Floor Area Ratio and connectivity.
Each park, sized at about 50 acres, will comprise hotels, convention centres, entertainment parks, skill training centers besides entertainment and amusement centres, food streets, and facilities for sports and hosting of cultural events and festivals. The strategy is expected to garner more support in the backdrop of India bagging two major awards at the World Travel Mart in London on Tuesday. “The coming year is going to be the Year of India...we are growing at 10% and the additional 5 million tourist arrivals will create 25 million jobs in the country," Sahai said.