Modi call on Kashmir tourism has now turned the fortunes of UT
Heaven Monitoring Desk
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s targeted emphasis on promoting domestic tourism, especially in the post-pandemic era, will not only give a boost to the country’s economy, but also provide employment opportunities across India.
However, PM Modi’s belief in tourism potential of India is not new. It can be traced back to the 80’s, even before he became chief minister of Gujarat. He then believed in the tourism potential of the White Desert of Kutch, and after becoming the chief minister, he turned the same barren land into an international tourist destination. Recently in his speech, PM Modi urged domestic tourists to visit at least 15 places in the country to boost domestic tourism.
World Tourism Day has its significance for stressing the potential of tourism and its importance in the knowledge of international community’s social, cultural, political and economic values. On this occasion, let’s take a look at some of the major tourism initiatives by Narendra Modi on various occasions to promote domestic tourism.
Statue of Unity
Statue of Unity was unveiled by PM Modi on Sardar Patel’s 143rd birth anniversary in 2018. Since its inauguration, as many as 7.94 million people have visited the site till May 2022. But PM Modi’s vision was not limited to this site only. He wanted to engage tourists visiting the Statue of Unity for 2-3 days at the same site. So, he asked the officials to develop Kevadia village as Kevadia Tourism Circuit. For the visitors of Statue of Unity, Kevadia Tourism Circuit is another attraction with 35 tourist spots like Jungle Safari, Valley of flowers, Children’s Nutrition Park, Butterfly Garden and Cactus Garden etc.
Jammu and Kashmir
In the terrorism-hit state of Jammu and Kashmir, PM Modi asked the youth to ‘choose tourism over terrorism.’ His call has now turned the fortunes of the state. Kashmir witnessed a good tourist season in the summer this year. PM Modi’s bold decisions to repeal Article 370 and 35-A also resulted in restricting the terrorism in the state.
Kutch Rann Utsav
What was once a barren and marshy desert has now turned into an international tourist destination, thanks to the vision of Narendra Modi. He spotted the tourism potential of White Rann way back in 80s, when he was not even the chief minister of Gujarat. After becoming the CM, Modi began Rann Utsav and gradually started providing facilities in the Rann area. He developed tent city and made available other modern facilities to make Rann Utsav an international tourist destination. At present, more than 15 lakh tourists visit Rann Utsav per year contributing greatly to employment of the region and state revenue.
Khushbu Gujarat Ki
A tourism campaign to promote Gujarat’s lesser-known cultural heritage, with Amitabh Bachchan as the brand ambassador was an idea propagated by Narendra Modi as Gujarat CM. This campaign helped the state attain newer heights in promoting its tourism. Guinness World Record creating Kite Festival on 14 January (Makar Sankranti) attracts kite fliers from countries across the globe. In 2012, participants from more than 42 countries across the globe took part in kite flying on the occasion.
Exploring the Unexplored
This campaign also helped Gujarat explore the unexplored potential tourism spots in the state. Success stories of Saputara Monsoon Festival, Balasinor Dinosaur Fossil Park, Flamingo Tourism and Gir National Park for Asiatic Lions are only few examples. Saputara is the only hill station in Gujarat which was developed for tourists for Monsoon Festival. Balasinor Fossil Park is the largest Dinosaur Fossil Park in the world. Flamingo tourism was promoted in the border area of the state.
After taking over as Prime Minister of India in 2014, Narendra Modi envisioned the tourism potential of Kashi (his parliamentary constituency Varanasi) and vowed to develop the city as India’s Kyoto. Varanasi is known as the oldest living city on the earth with significant religious values. The newly developed Kashi Vishwanath Corridor and state-of-the-art infrastructure has established Kashi as India’s religious tourism capital.
Char Dham (Uttarakhand)
PM Modi’s eye for promotion of other tourist destinations is impeccable. PM Modi inaugurated the project of three different stretches of the Char Dham all-weather road in 2021 for promoting religious tourism in Uttarakhand. This project will provide better connectivity to devotees of Char Dham irrespective of the weather conditions. This will attract tourists in all weathers to the state. He is the only PM who visited 5 times to the Kedarnath shrine during his first tenure to promote tourism after tragedy struck the place in 2013.
PM Narendra Modi introduced Ramayana Circuit for devotees to cover places from the lives of Bhagwan Rama. A special train which covers these places starting from Delhi upto Nepal’s Janakpur is being run by the Indian Railways to cover the circuit. Bus service is also available for the devotees to travel to these places. In all, the circuit covers 11 destinations including Ayodhya, Kashi and Janakpur in Nepal.
PM Narendra Modi adopted ‘Act-East Policy’ to promote tourism in North-East. India’s longest rail and road bridge was inaugurated by PM Modi in 2018 for NER. Modi government built 900 km tracks of broad gauge for railway connectivity in the region and there has been concerted push to connect the terrain through air in the past five years under the UDAAN scheme. All these schemes have helped the North-East to be a part of the mainstream of development and also promote tourism in the region.
Involving Indian Diaspora
When it comes to interacting with the Indian diaspora, there can’t be a better leader than Narendra Modi. During his interactions with Indian diaspora, he urged each of them to send at least 5 foreign families to visit India every year. Along with this, he also called the diaspora to act as the brand ambassador of the India in foreign countries to promote domestic tourism in India.
Tourism promotes cultural values and ethos with other countries and their people. It is also important for the nation’s economy and employment generation. But it requires great hospitality to attract tourists at your place. Considering this, what could be a better place for tourists to visit than India which believes in ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’. And, who could be the better representative than our PM Narendra Modi to represent such a beautiful country.