The new tourism policy should help boost the growth of tourism so that its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the economy also goes up from the present 6.8 percent, Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma said while addressing a meeting held for formulating the new National Tourism Policy, 2015.
    
The meeting was attended by the representatives of state governments and the Union Territories as part of the consultation process with the stakeholders here.

Sharma said the new tourism policy should become the instrument for substantially increasing India's share in global tourist arrivals beyond the current share of 0.64 percent.

He said the tourism potential of the country is yet to be fully exploited. "We must promote the rich cultural heritage of the country through the medium of tourism."
    
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Brand India promotion at global platforms, he said "It is due to his efforts that the practice of yoga got recognition throughout the world. We should take up such similar initiatives."

The tourism policy should contribute to economy, promote cultural heritage, generate employment, should be pro-poor and also include women empowerment, the Minister explained.

The representatives of State and UTs also put forward their suggestions and expressed their concerns related to their respective regions.

They demanded tax incentives across the tourism-related products and services, connectivity for remote areas, single window clearance and equitable treatment for the less developed regions of the country.

Demand for printing a national calendar of festivals throughout the country, promotion of the local traditions of particular regions and preservation of water bodies among others, were also discussed during the meeting.

The representatives of north-eastern states stressed the need for connectivity, mobile network connectivity, roadside amenities and lifting of travel restrictions for foreigners.

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