17 tourist spots to be developed across country
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced that 17 sites across the country will be developed as model tourist spots. “The iconic tourism sites would enhance visitor experience, which would lead to increased visits of both domestic and international tourists to these destinations,” she said in her Budget speech. She announced ~2,189.21 crore allocation for the tourism ministry for 2019-20, up from ~2,113.48 crore in the 2018-19 revised estimates.
The Swadesh Darshan scheme, under which thematic tourist circuits are developed, was allotted ~1,106 crore for 2019-20, a marginal increase from ~1,100 crore in 2018-19. The PRASAD scheme, formulated to develop religious sites, got ~160.50 crore, up from ~150 crore in 2018-19 revised estimates.
There was no change in the 18-28% Good and Services Tax despite the industry demands.
Indian Association of Tour Operators president Pronab Sarkar said the announcement was a repeat of what the government had said last year. “There is no road map on how the government will realise its goal of 20 million tourists by 2020,” he said.