NEW DELHI: The ministry of Tourism celebrated world tourism day on Sunday through a virtual event and launched the SAATHI application for the hospitality industry.

The ministry said SAATHI is an initiative of the tourism ministry with the Quality Council of India to assist the hospitality industry in continuing to operate safely and instill confidence among staff, employees and guests about the safety of the hotels and units.

Union minister of petroleum and natural gas and steel Dharmendra Pradhan was the chief guest for the event. Tourism minister Prahlad Singh Patel, Yogendra Tripathi, secretary, ministry of tourism, Meenakshi Sharma, director general, tourism, Rakesh Kumar Verma- joint secretary, tourism , additional DG(tourism)-Rupinder Brar and other officials of the ministry also participated in the virtual event.

The app was launched by Pradhan who also launched a film ‘Pathik’, an initiative on Incredible India Tourist Facilitators Certification Programme (IITFC) and an ICPB MICE promotional film.

The ministry said the objective of the ICPB Mice promotional film is to communicate a positive message for welcoming events to India when competing destinations are already actively marketing their products.

United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has designated 2020 as the year of tourism and rural development. The tourism ministry said the year is an opportunity to promote the potential of tourism to create jobs and opportunities.

Pradhan appreciated the efforts of the ministry of tourism in launching the SAATHI application and the online learning module IITFC. He also lauded the ministry’s effort of showcasing Indian culture, heritage and lesser known destinations, cuisines etc through the webinar series Dekho Apna Desh.

Talking about sustainable environment, he said operating boats at tourist spots could substitute petrol, diesel, kerosene with CNG/LPG which are pollution free. He also emphasised on using battery operated vehicles in and around tourist spots.

Addressing the event, tourism minister Patel reiterated the vision of the prime minister asking every citizen to visit at least 15 destinations by the year 2022 to promote domestic tourism. He said that the ministry of tourism has launched the Dekho Apna Desh (DAD) initiative in January 2020 with the objective of creating awareness among the citizens about the rich heritage and culture of the country, encouraging citizens to travel widely within the country and enhancing tourist footfalls leading to development of local economy and creation of jobs at the local level.

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