India inks joint tourism action plan with Singapore


Aiming at boosting tourism and investments, India on Tuesday signed a joint action plan with Singapore for cooperation and mutual benefits in the coming years.

The joint action plan reiterates the provisions of cooperation enshrined in the bilateral agreement on tourism signed between the two countries on January 24, 1994.

“We have traditional ties with Singapore and this will strengthen it further,” Tourism Minister Kumari Selja said after the function marking the signing of the pact.

There has been a constant increase in the number of tourists from Singapore to India. While 44,306 Singaporeans visited India in 2002, the number increased to 92,908 in 2007.

It is estimated that more than one lakh Singaporeans came to India in 2008.

“We expect more Singaporeans to visit and also to invest in our country as we have now more opportunities to offer. We are allowing 100 per cent FDI in the hospitality sector including hotels,” she said.

On tourist sites in the country, she said there are many areas including Buddhist circuits, rural areas and wellness tourism which will of great attraction to the visitors.

The action plan was signed by Union tourism secretary Sujit Banerjee and Singapore Tourism Board assistant chief executive of international group Lawrence Leong Yue Kheong amid the presence of Selja and Singapore minister of state for trade and industry and education S Iswaran.

The objective of the joint action plan is to strengthen joint marketing collaboration with third countries such as members of ASEAN and China for mutual benefit.

It also envisages organising India Week and Singapore Week at the sidelines of global tourism fairs.

Acknowledging the scope for cooperation, Singapore minister of state for trade, industry and education S Iswaran said, “India is a wealth of tourism assets. We have cultural and geographical proximity with India.”

He said, “There is a change in tour pattern as people are opting now for long holidays to short holidays and wanting more value for their money. So many tourists coming to Singapore can also opt for a short holiday to India as four or five days gateways”.

While addressing the ongoing overseas marketing meet, Iswaran said, “India has opened up with 100 per cent FDI in the hospitality sector.”

However, he said, “There is a need for coming out with a clear dossier with details of business opportunities by the government and also a direct contact between the stakeholders for business to business contact”.