Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today termed rapes as disastrous and said such incidents have cost billions of dollars to the tourism industry. While addressing a conference of state tourism ministers, Jaitley said that due to several reasons, including rapes and law and order situation, the tourism sector is not booming as much as it should.
"As a part of the red carpet glean for the tourists, our law and order - 'one small incident of rape in Delhi' advertised world-over is enough to cost us billions of dollars in terms of lower tourism," said Jaitley. He also said that the country's domestic transport system - roads and railways - and international transport is not upto the mark and needs to be improved tremendously.
Jaitley focused on the massive potential India has in tourism sector and said with its diverse landscape from mountains, rivers, and forests to beaches, deserts, historical monuments, and metro cities the country should have been flooded with tourists.
"It (tourism) is one of the underachieved sectors in India. A country of India's size, which ordinarily should have everything going for it in terms of tourism, should have been crowded with the tourist arrivals," he said. He also said that the country's government follows lower taxation policies because lower taxation means cheaper products, which results in more spending by people and ultimately higher revenue for the government.
He laid emphasis on lower taxes on hotels and international flights to attract more tourists and hailed Thailand for its tourism policies. "When we are loading it with higher taxes, there is going to be lesser occupancy and effectively lesser collections. So, countries like Thailand are the examples which you learn to emulate; which provided relatively cheaper hotel accommodations to its tourists, the volumes grew and the tourism trafficked," said Jaitley.