Travel and tourism, story of missed opportunities: Oberoi

Kolkata, Aug 6 (IANS) Observing that India's travel and tourism sector was a story of "missed opportunities", EIH Executive Chairman P.R.S. Oberoi Tuesday blamed the central and state governments for "not realising the importance of the industry".

"The story of travel and tourism sector is that of huge potential and missed opportunities. It is most unfortunate that the central and state governments have not realised the importance of the industry. It is vital that this sector is given the importance that it deserves," Oberoi said here at the company's 63rd annual general meeting here.

Oberoi also blamed "lack of sanitation, poor enforcement of cleanliness standards, unsafe roads and poor upkeep of cultural and historical monuments" for adversely affecting India's attractiveness as a key tourism destination.

"Arrival of foreign visitors to India is low. In 2011-12, tourist inflow was just 6.3 million while outflow of Indian tourists was over 12 million, making India one of the very few countries with adverse foreign exchange inflow," said Oberoi.

He also blamed the country's national air carrier for not playing a pivotal role.

"While other national flag carriers have been playing pivotal roles in promoting their respective countries, Air India does not have enough flights to many important European and Asian destinations. Air India must transform itself into a global carrier of repute and develop a strategy to make India a key destination," added Oberoi.

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