India to head UN South Asian Regional Commission for Tourism


India has taken over as the Chairman of UN South Asian Regional Commission for tourism. This was announced at the ongoing United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) conference at Gyeongju, South Korea. The chairmanship of the commission was with Iran for the last four years.

Addressing the UNWTO meeting, Subodh Kant Sahai, Union Minister for Tourism, who is leading the Indian delegation at Gyeongju, said, “It signifies the confidence of various countries in India and the efforts of the Indian government in promoting the tourism in the country, as well as across the globe in responsible and sustainable manner to bring in inclusive growth.”

Describing Sustainable, Safe and Honourable Tourism as the pillars of India’s strategy, Sahai said the schemes and programmes implemented by the Indian government are primarily focused on inclusive development, integrated with the overall anti-poverty strategy. According to a PTI report, it has been estimated that by the year 2016-17, the growth in the tourism sector would enable additional employment generation of around 25 million people. There would be a need for an additional 42 million skilled persons in the hospitality sector alone.

“We are, therefore, giving a major boost to the skill development in the sector by harnessing both public and private sector educational and training infrastructure of the country. We are also encouraging our academic institutes to go in for MOU’s with reputed counterparts of other countries for achieving academic excellence,” Sahai said.

Seeking the global organisation’s active role in skill development programme, Sahai said, “I would urge UNWTO to intensify its efforts in providing the support to member countries in developing a skill development framework based on successful best practices across the globe.” He said the government is in process of establishment of Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India (STCI) and indicators for the accommodation sector and tour operators.