Ministry of Tourism celebrated World Tourism Day today through virtual platform. Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan was the chief guest of the event, Union Minister of Tourism and Culture (I/C) Prahlad Singh Patel also graced the occasion. Secretary, ministry of Tourism Shri Yogendra Tripathi, Director General, Tourism Ms. Meenakshi Sharma, joint Secretary, Tourism Shri Rakesh Kumar Verma , Addl DG(Tourism), Ms Rupinder Brar and other officials of Tourism Ministry also participated in the virtual event.This year United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has designated 2020 as the Year of Tourism and Rural Development. This Year is an opportunity to promote the potential of tourism to create jobs and opportunities. It can also advance inclusion and highlight the unique role tourism can play in preserving and promoting natural and cultural heritage and curbing urban migration.During the event SAATHI Application was launched by the chief guest Shri Dharmendra Pradhan . SAATHI is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism with Quality Council of India to assist the hospitality industry to continue to operate safely and thereby instill confidence among the Staff, employees and the guests about the safety of the hotel/unit . Shri Pradhan also launched a film ‘Pathik’, an initiative on Incredible India Tourist Facilitators Certification Programme (IITFC) and an ICPB MICE Promotional film.The objective of the ICPB Mice Promotional film is to communicate a positive message for welcoming events to India when competing destinations are already actively marketing their products. The tone of joy and confidence in getting back to business, warm hospitality, safety protocols in place and assurance of a delightful experience is the core message of the film.Speaking on the occasion, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan appreciated the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism in launching the SAATHI application and the online learning module IITFC. He also lauded the Ministry’s effort of showcasing our culture, heritage, lesser known destinations, cuisine etc through the webinar series Dekho Apna Desh.
Talking about sustainable environment he was keen to take it further by susbstituting Petrol, diesel, kerosene etc in operating boats at tourist sports with CNG/LPG which are pollution free. He also emphasised upon using battery operated vehicles in and around tourist spots. Sh Pradhan also appreciated the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism, in launching the Incredible India Tourist Facilitators (IITF) Certification Programme, a Pan-India online learning program that is open to all, and can be undertaken from anywhere in the country. The Programme aims at creating a pool of trained professionals for facilitating the visit of tourists at destinations across the country.Addressing the event, Prahlad Singh Patel reiterated the vision of the Prime Minister of India asking every citizen to visit at least 15 destinations by the year 2022 to promote domestic tourism. He said that the Ministry of Tourism has launched the Dekho Apna Desh (DAD) initiative in January 2020 with the objective of creating awareness among the citizens about the rich heritage and culture of the country, encouraging citizens to travel widely within the country and enhancing tourist footfalls leading to development of local economy and creation of jobs at the local level. During this pandemic, Ministry has been organizing a series of webinars under the overall theme of DAD, showcasing the diverse culture, heritage, destinations and tourism products of the country. The Minister informed that as on date 54 webinars covering different States/Union Territories have been organized as part of the initiative. To create mass awareness, the Ministry has also launched an online DAD pledge and Quiz on the MyGov.in platform. The online pledge and Quiz are open to all for participation.Shri Patel further said that the programme will help in enhancing the overall experience of the tourists, who would benefit from the knowledge of the local tourist facilitators and it will also help in creating employment opportunities even in the remotest parts of the country. The session was opened by Secretary (Tourism) extending a warm welcome and appreciating the awareness and proactive measures taken by all the stakeholders during this pandemic time to work out a strategy and taking necessary action. Joint Secretary (Tourism) concluded the session with Vote of Thanks.