India should scale up foreign tourist arrivals: UNESCO

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Bangalore, Jun 20 (UNI) India, which has 27 world heritage sites and many more potential historical hotspots, should scale up its foreign tourist arrivals from the present 3.5 million to ten million in the near future, UNESCO Director Minja Yang said today.

Speaking at the two-day seminar on 'how to become and remain a World Heritage Site,' organised by UNESCO, Archaeological Survey of India and Karnataka Tourism here, she said the ten million mark was not far fetched to a historically vibrant and rich country like India.

''Arrival of 10 million foreign tourists means Indian tourism industry can earn more than the IT industry, which is bringing major gains to the economy. France, which is much smaller than India attracts 60 million foreign tourists and India taking this figure to ten million is not far fetched,'' she said.

Ms Yang said India's motto of 'unity in diversity' had become a world motto as many countries were using this message to attract tourists.

She said getting heritage sites inscribed as 'World Heritage Sites' had been made very difficult for obvious reasons and it would take at least 10 years for a government to get such a norm for any of its heritage site.

''The real challenge is not getting the norm but ensuring that a historical site remain World Heritage Site.'' Karnataka Department of Tourism Director C Somasekhara said in present times managing World Heritage Sites had become a challenge.

The main objective of the seminar was to broaden the understanding of the World Heritabge Convention, the nomination process and key challenges in World Heritage Management and Conservation.

Senior officials from the Union Government, many state governments and SAARC countries participated in the seminar.


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