Prez stresses the need to encourage domestic tourism

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Bangalore, Feb 2(UNI) President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today stressed the need for encouraging domestic tourism in the country.

Speaking at a function organised to flag-off the Karnataka Tourism Department's luxuary tourist train 'Golden Chariot' here, she said that over 380 million domestic tourists visit different parts of the country every year and return with a better understanding of the people living in different regions. They have a better appreciation of the cultural diversity of India.

"We must encourage domestic tourism", she added.

Ms Patil said that tourism is an instrument for economic development and employment generation, particularly in remote and backward areas. "Tourism also encourages preservation of monuments and heritage properties and helps in the survival of art forms, crafts and culture", she added.

She said that according to UN World Tourism Organisation the number of international tourists has reached close to 900 million in 2007. "This is a large number, accounting for almost one-sixth of humanity travelling in one year. There had been a remarkable growth in the recent years, in foreign tourist arrivals to India due to various efforts made, including promoting India through the 'Incredible India' campaign in overseas markets." President stressed that "our endeavours in increasing the number of tourists to India must continue".

Governor Rameshwar Thakur, in his address, said that the Golden Chariot is the first of its kind in the whole of South India and it would provide a greater fillip to the tourism industry in the South particularly in Karnataka.

The Golden Chariot would offer the tourists a journey through the rich history, culture and natural beauty of Karnataka as well as an experience of the warmth and hospitality of the people of the State, he added.

Union Minister of State for Railwasy R Velu and Surface K H Muniyappa, Lok Sabha member Ananthkumar were also present during flag-off of the Golden Chariot by the President.

UNI MSP MV RKN1554

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