Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said better infrastructure has put remote Indian villages on the tourist map as has redevelopment of religious centers like Varanasi’s Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
Addressing a post-Budget webinar on the subject of ‘Developing Tourism in Mission Mode’, Mr. Modi said it was a myth that tourism is a fancy word associated only with the high-income groups of the country.
He also said that ‘yatras’ have been a part of India’s cultural and social life for centuries and people used to go on pilgrimages even when there were no resources available to them and gave the example of Char Dham Yatra, Dwadash Jyotirling Yatra and 51 Shaktipeeth Yatra.
The Prime Minister said that these places had been neglected over the years due to hundreds of years of slavery and the political neglect in the decades after Independence.
Mr. Modi gave the example of Kashi Vishwanath Dham in Varanasi and said that around 80 lakh people used to visit the temple in a year before it was rebuilt, but the tourist footfall crossed 7 crore last year after the renovation. He also mentioned that 15 lakh devotees have visited Kedarnath Temple compared to only 4-5 lakh before the completion of reconstruction work in Kedarghati.
The Prime Minister highlighted the tourism sector of India saying that India’s tourism sector can grow manifold with increase in civic amenities, good digital connectivity, good hotels and hospitals and excellent infrastructure. He gave the example of Indian villages.
“Our villages are becoming centers of tourism”, the Prime Minister remarked as he underlined that remote villages are now coming up on the tourism map due to their improving infrastructure. The Central government has started the Vibrant Village Scheme for the villages situated along the border, he said emphasising the need to support businesses such as homestays, small hotels and restaurants.