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Tourism budget sees increase

Realising that the country was only able to achieve a "fraction" of its potential in terms of foreign tourist arrivals, the government today increased the budget for tourism from Rs 786 crore to Rs 830 crore with development of tourist infrastructure as priority.

"Foreign tourist arrivals increased to 3.92 million in 2005. It is still a fraction of India’s potential," Finance Minister P Chidambaram said while presenting the Union Budget for 2006-07 here in New Delhi.

Besides taking-up 15 tourist destinations and circuits for development, the government will also identify 50 villages with core competency in handicrafts, handlooms, and culture, close to existing destinations and circuits, and develop them for enhancing tourists experience.

To give more professional touch to the hospitality in tourism sector, the government will also establish four new institutes of hotel management in Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal.

The increase in the funds will also reflect in information and publicity campaigns taken-up overseas even as the domestic publicity campaign will take a back seat with about Rs seven crore reduction in the funds


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