Yes Bank report highlights need for creating land banks to expedite infra push

Divulging some of the key recommendations of the report compiled by Yes Bank, Nikhil Shani, Senior President – Government Banking and Strategic Government Advisory, Yes Bank noted that a number of states had displayed proactive approach in creating tourism related projects. He, however, urged states to identify and allocate land-parcels for investments to expedite the much-needed infra push. 

Camel Safari in Rajasthan21Sharing some key trends and figures that outlined the direction taken by global tourism, Nikhil Shani pointed towards the fact that tourism was increasingly beginning to play a stronger role in economic generation. He noted that the size of tourism from a global perspective hovered around 9.3 percent in GDP terms while India’s share stood at about 6.3 percent – which was expected to grow to 7.2 percent in the next ten years. “In terms of contribution to the GDP in 2015, India stands at a rank of 142. While a whole lot of people might call this poor, but we look at it as one of the biggest opportunities that could have hit India. From any sectoral perspective, it happens to be the biggest opportunity,” he reasoned, deciphering global tourism trends. 

Delving deeper into tourism indicators, he informed that approximately 98.4 percent of tourists came from domestic markets, and only 1.6 percent of overall numbers came from foreign shores. “One may make a strong case for taking the dismal foreign traffic to higher levels, but our domestic numbers are very strong. The idea is that the base needs to grow,” he said, batting for enhanced focus on domestic footfalls. He added that “to put matters into perspective, there has been a twenty-five percent growth in the last few years which is very substantial for the tourism industry.”

Examining tourism related developments, he contested that Wellness boards had been setup; schemes aimed at rejuvenation of heritage cities and projects connecting pilgrimage destinations had come up. He also commended the railways for spearheading a number of projects and new offerings aimed at enhancing ‘quality of experience.’

Arguing that beside a string of new projects, driven by the central government, a number of state driven initiatives were also worthy of a mention, he said “Madhya Pradesh is looking at developing a Wildlife and Buddhism Circuit. They have developed a film tourism policy and White Tiger Safari has been launched in Rewa. Rajasthan, with the support of the centre is trying to developed a Desert Circuit.” 

He further noted that Chhattisgarh, too, was picking up on travel and tourism in a major way. “Chhattisgarh’s traditional strength has always been domestic tourism. Telangana has come up with some innovative ideas while Andhra Pradesh has undertaken a mission approach to tourism. PATA had conducted their main event, for the first time, in Bengaluru – which will give a fillip to Karnataka. Delhi is eyeing a water sports tourism complex,” he stressed, reiterating that states had taken a lead in creating requisite tourism related offerings and infrastructure.

Highlighting the report tabled by Yes Bank, he shared certain recommendations, ranging from policy overhaul and more. “One is of course the infrastructural status to hotels, given that there is still a shortage of about two hundred thousand rooms in the mid-market segment. Potentially the sum fixed at two hundred crores needs to be re-looked at,” he said. 

Adding that with the advent and spread of ‘Digital India’ in a tremendous fashion, a look at intelligent tourist researches on the probable way forward was a worthwhile engagement, he recommended infusing technology to create safe and secure tourist destinations. “A safe tourist destination is a constantly talked about issue and its importance is already well understood to be elaborated any further. Digital India, there too, can play a significant role,” he said.

Underscoring the importance of identifying land-bank and making land-parcels available for investors at large at the state level, he asked states to also look at developing some for their own state-owned tourism units, to be run on PPP basis, rather than only looking at funding it through their own financial sources. 

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