Tag Archives: Dr. Mahesh Sharma

Alphons Kannanthanam is the new Tourism Minister

Alphons Kannanthanam has been administered the oath of office as Minister of State (Independent Charge) for the Tourism Ministry by the President of India. He will replace Dr. Mahesh Sharma, MoS (I/C) Tourism and Culture. One of the toppers of IAS batch of 1979, Kannanthanam quit the services in 2006, and was elected a Member of the Legislative Assembly, from Kanjirappally in Kottayam District, Kerala. He joined the BJP as Member of National Executive Council in 2011. He is also a practicing advocate in the High court and the Supreme Court of India. As the Commissioner of Delhi Development Authority from 1992-1997, he demolished 14,310 illegal buildings in Delhi and reclaimed land worth Rs 10,000 crore, giving him the sobriquet of ‘Demolition Man’.  

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Cruise tourism action plan in 4 months

The Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with Ministry of Shipping will prepare an action plan for development of cruise tourism in India. MOT intends to promote cruise shipping and tourism in a big way and will be an important element of the Incredible India 2.0 campaign. The Netherlands-based consultant Bermello Ajmali has prepared a report on cruise tourism in India, which has a low penetration rate in the sector. During the National Workshop on Cruise Tourism conducted by MOT and Ministry of Shipping, Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, Government of India, said, “The report prepared on cruise tourism by the foreign consultant will be discussed and the action plan will be ready in next 3-4 months. Next year is going to be very good for cruise tourism in India.” At present, India has a very small share in world cruise tourism market, as against 23 million passengers globally in 2016. Various stakeholders from the ministry of tourism, Shipping ministry, Bureau of Immigration, Central industrial Security Force (CISF), department of Revenue (Customs) and policy consultants etc. came together to discuss the nuances of the action plan to be put in place. Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister for Tourism, Government of India, said that cruise tourism will be a game changer for tourism sector as it helps in foreign exchange earnings as well as job creation. Rashmi Verma, Secretary-tourism, Government of India, informed that in 2013-14 only 103 cruise ships visited India which increased to 158 in 2016-17 and in 2013-14, 80,645 cruise passengers disembarked in India which grew to 191,725 passengers in 2016-17. She said, “This workshop is a landmark in promotion of cruise tourism in India and …

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Wellness & yoga tourism guidelines to be released on June 21

Guidelines for wellness and yoga tourism in India will be released on June 21 on the occasion of International Yoga Day while the policy for medical tourism in India will be announced in three to four weeks subsequently, informed Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent charge) for Tourism and Culture, Government of India. This was announced during the third meeting of the National Medical and Wellness Tourism Promotion Board (NMWTPB) where members of the board discussed ways to improve the structure of the policy and make it more comprehensive. Sharma said, “Medical and wellness tourism plays a major role in overall growth of tourism. India offers some very intricate treatments at one sixth the cost in comparison to many countries; have the best professionals and the most acclaimed paramedical staff. To harness the potential of this segment, we are going to divide the segment in two phases. On June 21 we will release the guidelines for wellness centers, spas and yoga centers for tourism purposes. We have asked the members of the Board for suggestions to prepare a draft Medical Tourism Policy, which will be then reviewed and later released in a matter of three to four weeks. We are also working on a dynamic, interactive web portal which will be one stop shop for medical value travel needs. The purpose is to standardise the rates of various services, provide a list of medical tourism providers and offer a single window system to medical and wellness tourism in a transparent manner.” Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, added that generally medical and wellness tourism are seen as separate entities but the NMWTPB is a landmark committee where …

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Medical and Wellness Policy to be launched on June 21

The country’s first Medical and Wellness Policy will be launched on June 21, 2017, announced Dr Mahesh Sharma, Union Minister – Tourism and Culture, Govt. of India at a press conference in New Delhi. The policy will be instrumental in streamlining the process for making India a preferred medical and wellness destination, owing to its affordability and quality of services. The Board had recently held its second meeting with various stakeholders to discuss the framework of the policy. As many as 201,333 foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in India on Medical Visa were recorded in 2016, while there were 1,34,344 FTAs in 2015 and 75,688 FTAs in 2014.

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Nearly 50% rise in FTAs on Medical Visa in 2016

As many as 201,333 foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in India on Medical Visa were recorded in 2016, while there were 1,34,344 FTAs in 2015 and 75,688 FTAs in 2014. This information was given by Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Tourism and Culture (Independent Charge) in a written reply in Rajya Sabha. In order to simplify and speed up the procedure of obtaining Visa for tourists coming to India for medical purposes, the Government of India has extended the facility of e-Medical Visa. Other measures taken by the Government to facilitate the tourists coming through e- Medical Visa are: Extension of duration of stay for upto 6 months may be granted on case to case basis on merits of each case by the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO)/Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) concerned. Triple entry will be permitted as against single entry earlier. In case of emergency, if Medical Visa is recommended by an accredited hospital in India, Indian Missions/Posts abroad should decide on such request within 48 hours of getting the application.

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Now, free SIM cards for tourists on e-visa

Welcome kits with preloaded SIM cards have been launched by Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Tourism & Culture, Govt. of India, in collaboration with BSNL and Telco for the benefit of foreign tourists visiting the country. He announced, “We are glad to be launching this initiative and hope it is a success. Our aim is to make the tourists’ stay in India a good one and their safety and security is our utmost concern. Hence, the sim cards have been preloaded with about Rs. 50 talktime and 50mb data so that they can connect with their loved ones after landing in India.” The kit is currently available at T3, Indira Gandhi International Airport and will subsequently be rolled out to 15 other airports where e-visa facility is accepted. Tourists can avail the free sim card from the Bureau of Immigration at the airport after filling out an information form.

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Tourism Minister inaugurates India pavilion at WTM London

Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of Tourism and Culture (I/C), Government of India, inaugurated the Incredible India pavilion at World Travel Market London 2016, along with Vinod Zutshi, Secretary-Tourism, Government of India, and Ashok Chandra Panda, Minister of State for Tourism & Culture, Government of Odisha. Dr. Sharma also launched the official website of Incredible India Global Tourism Mart, scheduled from Feb 1-4, 2017, in New Delhi. India is also looking to reposition its tourism offer. During the press conference organised by India Tourism at WTM, Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism India, said that his government was prioritising tourism by investing in the public infrastructure in order to facilitate specific tourism investments from the private sector. Some key areas which India Tourism will focus on include India’s luxury portfolio stretching from the royal fortresses to Goa and Kerala offering ‘barefoot’ luxury. MOT has also identified cruise tourism and MICE as two niche products available in India for 2017, said Zutshi. The e-Tourist Visa scheme which was introduced to 113 countries globally in August 2015 will be further promoted by India Tourism as a major incentive for travel in 2017. The Ministry is hopeful that the lesser-known but stunning regions off the beaten track will be the next port of call for travellers who have enjoyed the Golden Triangle. For India Tourism UK, North East Indian region will be in special focus and be greatly promoted. India’s long-standing relations with the UK will be focus of much festivity in 2017, the year that marks the 70th anniversary of Independence. Plans will be announced later in 2016 but are set to witness some famous British faces who are known for their love of …

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WTM London 2016 opens today

World Travel Market London 2016 is all set to open today at ExCeL-London. India Tourism is the Premier Partner for WTM London 2016, as it looks to promote the diverse tourism product the country offers. The Indian contingent is being led by Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister for Culture and Tourism (I/C), Government of India; and Vinod Zutshi, Secretary-Tourism, Government of India. Most of the Indian states are participating and some state chief ministers and deputy CMs are also attending WTM. An Indian Exhibition Centre at the Reed Exhibition Centre is going to be dedicated to India and Indian-based programmes for the three days of WTM.

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ITDC marks 50th year with great fanfare

India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) celebrated the completion of 50 years at a gala event at The Ashok, New Delhi. The event was graced by the presence of Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and Umang Narula, Chairman & Managing Director, ITDC. The who’s who of the travel and hospitality industry joined the celebrations and raised a toast to ITDC.

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MOT to sanction Rs 99.97cr by year end for Buddhist Circuit in UP

Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism & Culture has said that for Uttar Pradesh, the ministry is on the verge of sanctioning an amount of Rs.99.97 crore this year for infrastructure development of Buddhist Circuit covering Saravasti, Kapilvastu, Kushinagar. Outlining the ministry’s investment in tourism infrastructure for development of Buddhist Circuit under its Swadesh Darshan scheme, Sharma stated that an amount of Rs. 132.17 crore have been sanctioned till date. Delivering his opening remarks during the International Buddhist Conclave-2016 in Sarnath, UP, Sharma said, “India is the seat of spiritual tourism and that Government of India & Government of Uttar Pradesh are committed to develop the Buddhist Circuits. Sarnath will be made the hub of Buddhist Tourism in India and efforts will be made to bring in air, rail and road connections from Sarnath to various Buddhist sites in India.” Among those attending the opening ceremony were UP Tourism Minister Om Prakash, Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi, Navneet Sehgal, Principal Secretary, UP Tourism and Commissioner Varanasi, H.E. Assoc. Professor Chavanee Tongroach, Vice Minister of Tourism & Sports, Govt. of the Kingdom of Thailand, Macio Favilla, Executive Director, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Mayor of Varanasi amongst others attended the opening session of the conclave. Zutshi said that this is the first time when the International Buddhist Conclave is being organized in the premises of Sarnath. He further added that India is prepared for developing a transborder Buddhist Circuit across ASEAN & SAARC countries to enhance movement of Buddhist pilgrims in the region from remaining parts of the world. The whole day session included panel discussions on ‘India- The Land of Buddha’ with an objective to showcase India …

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