States should not decide what a tourist should eat or drink, NITI Aayog
Chairman Amitabh Kant said on Friday at the World Economic Forum
(WEF) event amid growing prohibition on food and alcohol
by state governments.
"Indian states can't get into what a tourist wants to eat and drink. What he wants to eat and drink is his individual business and not the states' business," Kant, also the driver of the Incredible India campaign, said at the India Economic Summit, organised in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry.
Speaking at the session on tourism, titled ‘Living up to the Incredible India’, Kant said that he has also always communicated to the political leadership about his views on the impact of prohibitions on tourists. "I have said it all the time that for a tourist, it is about creating experiences. In the evening he wants to relax and he wants to chill out and therefore you need to create that evening experience for (him) in terms of Indian culture."
Kant was responding to the question that whether states banning beef
had failed to realise that a country needs to extend to tourists every facility they need like Dubai has done.
"I have been a long-term believer in a couple of things. Tourism is essentially civilisational in character, you can't have garbage and filth and say that we have great heritage sites. So, India must focus on cleanliness. It is number one. Number two, it's about seamless experience," he said.
Tourism Minister K J Alphons had said last month that tourists should eat beef
in their own country. "They can eat beef
in their own country and then come to India. This is a cock-and-bull story," the bureaucrat-turned-politician had said. He later went on to clarify that tourists do not come to India to eat beef.
Cow slaughter is banned in about 21 states. Beef
consumption is not allowed in states like Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Haryana and, Uttar Pradesh.
Besides, at least four states – Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, and Daman – have announced plans to ban liquor sales. Already, alcohol
is banned in Gujarat, Bihar, Nagaland, and Manipur.
Kant added that India needs to identify at least four-five states as tourist destinations. "At least four-five states should focus on creating a seamless experience for tourists, from arrival to departure. Tourism is the real job creator," he said.