A parliamentary panel has observed that the action plan of the Tourism Ministry to woo foreign travellers is not effective enough and has suggested review of the overseas campaign strategy.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Tourism, Culture and Transport has recommended that the ministry must have a relook into the necessity of various tourism promotion offices abroad and the efficacy of various officials under overseas promotion and publicity.
The 31-member panel headed by CPI(M) MP Sitaram Yechury in its latest report observed that the expenditure incurred up to February is Rs 194.26 cr for overseas promotion.
The committee was of the view that the expenditure is not commensurate with the return in the form of number of foreign tourist arrivals (5.78 million) in 2010.
It expressed surprise that with so many attractions like religious tourism, health care and many more "why we have not been able to attract enough tourists to India".
Taking note of lack of cleanliness at tourist places as one of the reasons for low tourist arrival, the committee observed that only Rs 10,000 cr has been made available under the head for "Clean India" campaign.
It was of the view that a substantial part of the allocation may be diverted for the campaign as the tourist will come only when our tourist places are clean and well maintained.
The panel also noted that a comprehensive waste management system is lacking in most of the tourist destinations as this will become a serious problem in the coming years because of the increase in the number of tourists.
It also noted scarcity of water in almost all tourist places and specially in hilly areas.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee noted that out of the allocation of Rs 23.
65 crore, the Tourism Ministry could spend only Rs 20.78 crore.
It also observed that the Ajanta-Ellora project was not yet completed as some major work on the part of Archaeological Survey of India, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation are pending.
It is expected to be over by July 2013.
The committee emphasised the need for proper monitoring and coordination with all agencies concerned to complete the project on time.
The committee noted that the actual expenditure of Rs 67.79 crore showed that total allocations of Rs 89 crore for capacity builders for service providers could not be utilised by the end of the 11th Plan period.
"This is disappointing mainly because Tourism Ministry is under utilising the fund meant for skill development at a time when