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Comments On the XI Five Year Plan’s Tourism Report

Comments On the XI Five Year Plan’s Tourism Report

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This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the Planning Commission’s XI Five Year Plan’s Tourism Report. While appreciating certain positive trends in the Report, we appeal to the Planning Commission to consider an approach that is more broad-based and inclusive. Concerns such as, who grows, who benefits, who is harmed by tourism’s unrestricted and unregulated growth, is tourism non-exploitative, is it socially just and equitable and are its processes of planning and implementation democratic, need to be addressed if we are to see tourism in the XI Plan truly inclusive and people centred. This, we believe, will do justice to an activity that is ultimately based on people – the tourist and the communities visited. We highlight the insufficient attention paid to impacts tourism has had on specific constituencies (like women, children, tribals, dalits, other minorities), labour issues, the lack of strategies to ensure sustainable tourism, the role of government in tourism infrastructure development, and the need to bring in sharper perspectives and positions on ecotourism and climate change.

Publisher: Equitable Tourism Options (EQUATIONS)
Contact: info@equitabletourism.org, +91.80.25457607
Visit: www.equitabletourism.org, www.equitabletourism.org/stage/readfull.php?AID=426

Keywords: Tourism Impacts, Tourism, XI Five Year Plan, Community, Equitable, Ecotourism, India, EQUATIONS
This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the Planning Commission’s XI Five Year Plan’s Tourism Report. While appreciating certain positive trends in the Report, we appeal to the Planning Commission to consider an approach that is more broad-based and inclusive. Concerns such as, who grows, who benefits, who is harmed by tourism’s unrestricted and unregulated growth, is tourism non-exploitative, is it socially just and equitable and are its processes of planning and implementation democratic, need to be addressed if we are to see tourism in the XI Plan truly inclusive and people centred. This, we believe, will do justice to an activity that is ultimately based on people – the tourist and the communities visited. We highlight the insufficient attention paid to impacts tourism has had on specific constituencies (like women, children, tribals, dalits, other minorities), labour issues, the lack of strategies to ensure sustainable tourism, the role of government in tourism infrastructure development, and the need to bring in sharper perspectives and positions on ecotourism and climate change.

Publisher: Equitable Tourism Options (EQUATIONS)
Contact: info@equitabletourism.org, +91.80.25457607
Visit: www.equitabletourism.org, www.equitabletourism.org/stage/readfull.php?AID=426

Keywords: Tourism Impacts, Tourism, XI Five Year Plan, Community, Equitable, Ecotourism, India, EQUATIONS

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Published by: Equitable Tourism Options (EQUATIONS) on Apr 22, 2010
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1
Comments on the XI Five Year Plan’s Tourism Report 
EQUATIONSSeptember 2008
This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the Planning Commission’s XI Five Year Plan’s Tourism Report. Whileappreciating certain positive trends in the Report, we appeal to the Planning Commission to consider an approach that is more broad-based and inclusive. Concerns such as, who grows, who benefits, who is harmed by tourism’sunrestricted and unregulated growth, is tourism non-exploitative, is it socially just and equitable and are its processesof planning and implementation democratic, need to be addressed if we are to see tourism in the XI Plan truly inclusive and people centred. This, we believe, will do justice to an activity that is ultimately based on people – thetourist and the communities visited. We highlight the insufficient attention paid to impacts tourism has had onspecific constituencies (like women, children, tribals, dalits, other minorities), labour issues, the lack of strategies toensure sustainable tourism, the role of government in tourism infrastructure development, and the need to bring insharper perspectives and positions on ecotourism and climate change.
I. Constitution of the Working Group and Steering Committee on Tourism for the XI Five Year Plan
At the outset, we would like to comment on the membership of the two important bodies – the Working Group (WG)and the Steering Committee (SC) constituted by the Planning Commission to work on the Tourism Report for the XIFive Year Plan. There are commonalities and important differences in membership to the two bodies that we wouldlike to highlight.a. Central Government Representatives: Largest Representation in WG and SC
 
Both the WG and SC have significant membership of senior bureaucrats of different departments/ministriesthat the Planning Commission has considered important to input into the tourism sector report. The WorkingGroup has 24 bureaucrats from different central ministries like Tourism, Culture, Civil Aviation, Finance,Environment and Forests Home Affairs, External Affairs, Shipping and Road Transport & Highways. Incomparison, the Steering Committee has 12 bureaucrats some from the same ministries and a few additionalones like Youth & Sports Affairs and Revenue.
 
Representatives of important central government public corporations like the Tourism Finance Corporation of India, Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), Air India, Indian Airlines in the WG with only thelatter two in the SC.
 
In both the WG and SC, membership from central-level bureaucrats forms the highest proportion within theGroup and Committee – (24/46 in the WG) and (11/31 in the SC). It must be appreciated that, by invitingsenior government officials from a wide range of relevant central-level ministries and departments, thePlanning Commission has made efforts to factor in the cross-linkages and interdependencies that characterisetourism development.
 
However, it is disheartening to see the absence of membership from certain other central-level ministries whoalso are important stakeholders in the process of tourism development in this country. These include theMinistry of Commerce, the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. TheMinistry of Commerce negotiates on behalf of the country international multilateral, regional and bilateraltrade and investment agreements where, in recent years, tourism has been an important area of negotiationswithin the GATS ( The General Agreement on Trade in Services). It is difficult to comprehend the absence of the MoC in the Tourism Working Group Membership. The Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, and Ministry of Panchayat Raj, have as theirconstituencies, some important sections of our society who are deeply impacted by tourism development –women, children tribal/indigenous communities (including nomadic and denotified tribes), dalits and peoplewith disabilities. By virtue of their social, economic and cultural vulnerability, and consistent marginalisationthese constituencies have been impacted by tourism – more negatively than positively. This has for instance,been highlighted in the reports of the Working Group and Steering Committee on Women and ChildDevelopment for the XI Five Year Plan. It is critical that these important Ministries are members of TourismWG and SC and that processes of inviting their experiences and views are taken into account.b. State Government Representatives: Missing from the Steering Committee
 
In a progressive step, the Planning Commission has invited representatives of the Tourism Departments of five states – Kerala, Rajasthan, Orissa, Assam and Maharashtra into the Working Group.
 
 
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The criteria for invitation to these five states alone, is unclear and one only assumes that it is on the basis of the relative “success” of tourism in these states.
 
However, it is again quite incomprehensible why the Steering Committee has no representation from thestates. This indeed, is against the spirit of decentralisation of the planning process in the country. Tourism assuch is neither in the union or state or concurrent lists of the Constitution (but lobbying is on to place it inthe concurrent list notwithstanding opposition from few states), which means that both the central and stategovernments have equal mandate to initiate projects, policies or even legislate on tourism issues. Thecomplete absence of any state government representation in the Steering Committee is highly objectionable.Further, there is no representation from local self-governing institutions (panchayats, municipalities andgrama sabhas) - which in themselves play very important roles in developing and regulating tourism at thelocal level - in both the WG and SC. But even without state representation, the membership of the SC hasreflected a tendency towards centralising the tourism planning process which in itself seems a regressivemove.c. Members of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies: conspicuous by their absence from both WG and SCElected representatives from the central, state or local level find no representation in either the Working Group orSteering Committee for Tourism. So much so, that even the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport,Tourism and Culture has none of its members on either of the SC or WG. By Act (Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha), Standing Committees of the Parliament are permanent and regular committees mandatedwith the function of, among other things, consideration of national basic long term policy documents of the relevantMinistry/Department to guide the work of the Executive. The Committee has been active in the last few years withreviewing the work of the Executive, providing suggestions and recommendations and flagging off issues of concernto the Ministry of Tourism. Therefore, their non-representation does not respect the Parliamentary mandate of theseCommittees and is undemocratic by giving no space for elected representatives.d. Industry Membership
 
The Planning Commission has invited into both the Working Group and Steering Committee, representativesof leading industrial lobbies and tourism industry associations to be members. These include representativesof the Domestic Tour Operators Association, Travel Agents Association of India, Indian Tourist TransportOperators Association, Hotel Association of India (HAI), Indian Association of Tour Operators ( IATO),Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Association of India, Adventure Tour Operators’ Association.
 
In addition, the Steering Committee has representatives of FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) and CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) – the country’s two leading industrylobbies as members.
 
It would have been important to consider representation of other players in the industry who might not belarge scale tour operators or hoteliers, but whose contribution to and stake in tourism is undeniable. Theseinclude organisations and associations of hawkers, self-help groups (mostly women), and community ownedentrepreneurship ventures that are successful, locally oriented and more representative of local initiatives intourism. The unorganised sector is a critical sector in the tourism economy. The WG and SC would have alsobenefited with the inputs of those industry representatives who have engaged with developing ecologicallyand culturally sensitive, community-benefiting and capacity-building models in tourism in India. Also thetourism teaching and research institutions do not have representation. These representatives would havebeen particularly useful considering the specific thrust in the ToR of the WG on socio-economic development,employment generation in backward areas through tourism and factoring in environmental impacts andcarrying capacity in tourism development.e. Representation of International Bodies
 
Both the WG and SC have as members Mr. M P Bebaruah (Permanent Representative of United Nations WorldTourism Organisation) and Mr Ashwini Kakkar (Chairman, World Travel and Tourism Council India). Whilerepresentation from the UNWTO a UN agency to provide a global perspective, factor in international trendsthe application of progressive international frameworks as guidelines for tourism development in India, isunderstandable, the need for membership of a private body albeit one of that of the worlds business leadersin the travel and tourism industry continues to tilt the privileges of the premier segment of big business in thecountry’s planning process.f. Individual Members: Criteria for Selection and Role Unclear
 
 
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Both the WG and SC have several individuals, invited by the Planning Commission to be members on thesebodies. While in many cases (Lalit Suri, S M H Rehman, Cyrus Guzder, Ranjit Barthakur, Jose Dominic,Raymond Bickson) they seem to represent the hospitality industry and allied services, the criteria for selectionof some others is unclear. Whether they are in some representational role or in their individual capacities, thespecific criteria employed in their selection as members, and the specific competencies they are expected todeploy in the WG and SC is not clear.g. Other Institutions
 
The WG also has representatives of INTACH and NCAER both independent non-profit organisations that havesubstantial corporate membership as members. Non profit organisations that operate in the civil society spaceand provide research and policy advocacy inputs into tourism development and policy also have not been notconsidered for membership nor a process been solicited for their views to be taken into account.In overall terms, the constitution of the Working Group and Standing Committee on Tourism for the XI Five YearPlans does not comprehensively represent the diverse issues that tourism needs to address or the constituencies itrelies on and impacts. It reflects a significant bias towards the viewpoint and perspectives of bureaucrats and industryrepresentatives without adequate efforts to elicit views of other important stakeholders. The effort to reach out tocommunity representatives, including Panchayat members who have made some landmark achievements, and havesignificant responsibility in relation to tourism development at the local level is not evident. It has not given space forelected representatives, community representatives or other organisations that work with communities impacted bytourism. Significant among these are the absence of women and of trade union (organised and unorganised) workerrepresentatives from the sector. This lacuna in membership is probably the reason why, despite the ToR clearlydirecting the Working Group to review the priority of tourism towards socio-economic development, the WG Reporthas not been able to come up with concrete recommendations that can direct tourism growth to local economicdevelopment.
II. Terms of Reference of the Working Group and Steering Committee on Tourism for the XI Five YearPlan
The Terms of Reference of the Working Group and Steering Committee provide important insights into the thinking of the Planning Commission on the issues linked to tourism that the next Five Year Plan must address. Between the two,the ToR of the Working Group is more comprehensive and covers a wider array of issues and questions. Incomparison, the ToR of the Steering Committee focuses on fewer issues like developing an inter-ministerial strategyto tourism, incentives & concessions to industry, status of overseas promotion offices and encouraging domestictourism.a. Focus of the ToR of the WG and SCA classification of the ToR of the Working Group under broad aspects of tourism it addresses is below.
 
Infrastructure & Connectivity:
4 specific points related to civil aviation (point iv), road connectivity (point v),accommodation requirements (point x) and trained manpower requirement (point xi)
 
Tourists and Source Markets:
3 specific points related to foreign source markets (point vii), targets for volumeof domestic and international tourists (point viii) and length of stay of tourists (point ix)
 
Product Development, specific areas of focus & Circuits:
3 specific points related to identifying priority areasand products (point iii), assessing the tourism circuit approach (point xiv) and specific focus on tourismdevelopment in the Northeast region(point xviii)
 
Investment, Incentives & Concessions:
2 points related to reviewing private sector participation in tourism(point vi), assess level of investment needed by MoT and private sector (point xii)
 
Benefits from tourism (socio-economic development, employment):
2 specific points relating to reviewing therole of tourism as a tool for employment generation and socio-economic development in the states (point ii)and estimating the direct and indirect employment gains from tourism (point xiii).Apart from the above classification, there are few standalone points related to reviewing the National Tourism Policy,need for Government of India Overseas Tourist Offices and taking into account recommendations and findings of other committees and bodies, especially Parliamentary committees when formulating the report.The Steering Committee has a ToR that addresses five particular issues:
 
Review the achievements of the X Plan on Tourism

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