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Tourism

Tourism has emerged as an instrument for employment generation, poverty alleviation and sustainable human development. During 2003-2004, direct employment in the tourism sector was estimated to be 21.54 million. Tourism also promotes national integration and international understanding and gives support to local handicrafts and cultural activities.

Tourism in India has grown substantially over the last three decades. Foreign tourist arrivals in India recorded an increase of 13.2 per cent during the year 2005 as compared to the year 2004. India's share in the world tourism market during the year 2005 was 0.49 per cent, as against 0.44 per cent in 2004. Foreign exchange earnings during the year 2005 were Rs.25,172 crores as against Rs.21,828 crores in 2004.

Domestic tourism plays a vital role in achieving the national objectives of promoting social and cultural cohesion and national integration. Its contribution to generation of employment is very high. With the increase in income levels and emergence of a powerful middle class, the potential for domestic tourism has grown substantially during the last few years. During the year 2004, about 366 million domestic tourist visits were made and for the year 2005 it was estimated at 382 million visits.

Organisations

The organisations involved in the development of tourism at the Centre are Ministry of Tourism, Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology, India Tourism Development Corporation Limited, Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering and National Institute of Water Sports.

The Ministry of Tourism is responsible for formulation and implementation of policies and programmes for the development of tourism within the country and for attracting foreign tourists to India by way of developing tourism infrastructure, publicity and promotion, dissemination of information, co-ordination and supervision of activities of various segments of industry such as hotels, travel agencies, tour operators, etc.

There are 20 field offices of the Ministry of Tourism in India and 13 in other countries to undertake both developmental and promotional activities. While the overseas offices are in constant contact with tourists, travel intermediaries and media to promote tourism in India, the field offices in India provide facilitation services to tourists and co-ordinate with the State Governments on tourism infrastructural development. The main objectives of the overseas tourist offices are to position India in the tourism generating markets as a preferred tourism destination, to promote various Indian tourism products vis-a-vis competition faced from various destinations and to increase India's share of the global tourism market. These objectives are met through an integrated marketing strategy and synergised promotional activities undertaken in association with the Travel Trade and State Governments.

India Tourism Development Corporation Development Limited

India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) came into existence in October 1966 with the objective of developing and expanding tourism infrastructure in the country and thereby promoting India as a tourist destination. Working on the philosophy of public sector, ITDC succeeded in achieving its objectives by promoting the largest hotel chain in India and providing all tourist services, i.e. accommodation, catering, transport, in-house travel agency, duty free shopping, entertainment, publicity, consultancy, etc., under a single window. It also offers consultancy services from concept to commissioning in the tourism field both for private as well as public sector.

In pursuance of the disinvestment policy of the Government, 18 hotels have been disinvested. Keeping in view the changed scenario, the Corporation has suitably been restructured so that it continues to fulfill its original mandate for tourism development in the country. Besides consolidating and expanding its existing business areas, ITDC has made diversification into new avenues/innovative services like full-fledged money changer services and Western Union Money Transfer, Training Consultancy in hospitality sector, event management and consultancy and execution of tourism and engineering projects.

India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) came into existence in October 1966 with the objective of developing and expanding tourism infrastructure in the country and thereby promoting India as a tourist destination. Working on the philosophy of public sector, ITDC succeeded in achieving its objectives by promoting the largest hotel chain in India and providing all tourist services, i.e. Accommodation, Catering, Transport, in-house Travel Agency, Duty Free Shopping, Entertainment, Publicity, Consultancy, etc., under a single window. It also offers consultancy services from concept to commissioning in the tourism field both for private as well as public sector.

In pursuance of the disinvestment policy of the Government, 18 hotels have been disinvested. Keeping in view the changed scenario, the Corporation has suitably been restructured so that it continues to fulfill its original mandate for tourism development in the country. Besides consolidating and expanding its existing business areas, ITDC has made diversification into new avenues/innovative services like full-fledged Money Changer Services and Western Union Money Transfer, Training Consultancy in hospitality sector, event management and consultancy and execution of tourism and engineering projects.

ITDC has been a pioneering tourism organisation which provides all the tourist services/facilities under one roof. ITDC's present network consists of 8 Ashok Group Hotels, 7 Joint Venture Hotels including one under construction, two Restaurants (including one Airport Restaurant), 13 Transport Units, 1 Tourist Service Station, 37 Duty Free Shops at International as well as Domestic Custom Airports, 1 Tax Free outlet, 1 Sound & Light Show and 4 Catering Outlets. Besides, ITDC is also managing a Hotel at Bharatpur and a Tourist Complex at Kosi and a SEL show at Sabarmati, Ahmedabad owned by the Department of Tourism.

The Ashok International Trade Division of ITDC offers world class duty free shopping facilities to international travellers at its 38 outlets, earning crucial foreign exchange for the country and showcasing Indian products to the world.

The Ashok Travels and Tours (ATT) handles work relating to Domestic/International ticketing, hotel booking and tour packages, car and coach rentals, money changing services, money transfer services, overseas insurance and organizing exhibitions.

The Ashok Reservation and Marketing Services (ARMS) Division of ITDC, which is mainly responsible for marketing of Ashok Group of Hotels, participated in national/international events like ITB Berlin to ensure direct interaction with Foreign Tour Operators to promote various services of ITDC.

The Ashok Institute of Hospitality & Tourism Management (AIH&TM) of ITDC has been associated with the pioneering efforts in human resource development for more than three decades. Awarded the ISO-9001-2000 Certification, the institute conducts 18 months Craft/Certificate courses in the field of Culinary Skill Development, besides providing training to management trainees/apprentices and organising Executive Development programmes for the officials of ITDC. Under an MOU signed with the prestigious Kurukshetra University, the AIH&TM started 4-year Bachelor's Degree Course in International Hospitality Business Management from August 2004.

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Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on: 11-01-2011