The civil aviation ministry has given its nod to a proposal to provide leave travel concession for government employees to Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka to boost tourism in the region.
A senior official in the ministry confirming the development said, “The move is intended to boost tourism within SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries. Pakistan and Bangladesh has been left out for now because of security issues.”
The approval from the ministry of civil aviation was required so that the LTC can be availed of on national carrier Air India while flying to these countries.
Interestingly, latest available official data shows that there has been a decline in foreign tourist arrivals from Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka in 2013.
SriLanka does feature among the top five countries accounting for 3.77 per cent of foreign tourist arrivals in India. However, tourist arrivals from Sri Lanka to India dropped by 11 per cent in 2013.
Similarly, arrivals from Nepal declined by 9 per cent, Bhutan by 1 per cent. Foreign tourist arrivals from Maldives went down by 10 per cent in the same period.
Read more : Financial Express