Five year plans have been drafted and adopted for achieving national objective since 1951. The first five year plan was prepared for planned development of the country covering the period 1951-56. But at that time tourism was not a conspicuous economic activity and that tourism was not given a specific allocation.
The second plan (1956-61) recognized tourism as a significant industry and made a small, but specific allocation for tourism. A modest allocation of Rs.3.36 crores was for the development of tourism infrastructure. The plan adopted a method of classification of of tourism projects into 3 categories. Part I schemes included development of infrastructure at places that were important from the point of view attracting foreign tourists. Part II schemes included development schemes for places that were primarily the interests of domestic tourists. Part III schemes were those that catered to the needs of localities. Part I schemes were entirely central financed, while Part III were state financed. Part II schemes were jointly financed. It was during the II plan period, (1958) a separate department of tourism at the center was established. Overseas promotional offices at Fankfurt, Melborne and Colombo were established.
The Third Plan (1961-66) made an allocation of Rs.8 crores, again a small allocation, considering the vastness of the industry. During this plan period infrastructural details that were commissioned during II plan were completed. Net works at selected tourist centres such as Khajuraho, Bhubaneswar, Konark, Mahabalipuram, Madurai, Trichy and in many other places were taken up.
Hence annual plans were adopted for 1966-67, 1967-68 and 1968-69. During the three annual plan periods a total of Rs.7 crores were allotted for the tourism period. The India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) was set up then. Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation was established with two fullfledged department viz., Depatment Of Tourism and Department Of Civil Aviation.
The broad approach of the IV plan was to expand and improve tourist facilities with a view to promoting destinational traffic as distinct from transit traffic. It was proposed to take up integrated development of selected areas and encourage charter traffic. Emphasis was laid 0n provision of accommodation, transport and recreational facilities. Efforts were concentrated in areas where there was an identified large flow of foreign tourists traffic.
An outlay of Rs.36 crores was proposed of tourism including Rs.25 crores for the central programmes and Rs.11 crores for the states. The provision in the central sector included Rs.14 crores for the Department Of Tourism and Rs.11 crores for the ITDC. In the state sector, programmes for development of budget hotels, rest houses, development of tourist centres and their publicity were included.
The Fifth Plan made a provision of Rs.23.62 crores for the Department of Tourism and Rs.17.12 crores for the India Tourism Development Corporation. The programmes of the department included loans to hotel industry in private sector, integrated development of the tourist resorts at Kovalam, Gulmarg, Goa and Kulu-Manali and construction of number of youth hotels, tourist bungalows and forest lodges.
During the VI plan, the major objectives of the investment in the tourist sector were to optimise the use of existing capacity and to increase substantially tourist accommodation in the public and private sectors.
An outlay of Rs.187.46 crores had been made in the plan for 1980-85 which included Rs.115.46 crores for the state sector, Rs.72 crores for the central sector. Of the cental sector schemes Rs.30 crores were provided to the Department of Tourism and the balance to the ITDC. In the programme of the Department of Tourism, emphasis on beach and hiil resort development, wild life and cultural tourism, training and overseas promotion was given much importance.
The main objectives for the tourism sector in the Seven Plan were (i) faster development of tourism; (ii) re-defining of the role of public and private sector to ensure that the private sector investment is encouraged in developing tourism and the public sector investment is focused mainly on development of support infrastructure; (iii) according the status of an industry to tourism and (iv) exploiting tourism potential to support local handicrafts and other creative arts to promote national integration.
- Development of selected tourist circuit centres which are popular with the tourists instead of spreading limited resources within over a large number of circuits/centers.
- Diversification of tourism to India from the traditional sight-seeing tours centred primarily on places of cultural tourism intrest, towards the more rapidly growing holiday tourism market within the framework of country’s milieu with a conscious attention to the aesthetic, environmental and socio-cultural implications of tourism projects.
- Development of non-traditional areas such as 9a) trekking, (b) winter sports, (c) wild life tourisms and (d) beach resort tourism to exploit the tourism resources of Himalayas, the vast coast-line with sandy beaches and abundant sunshine, and wild life to attract more tourist and to lengthen their period of stay in the country.
- Restoration and balanced development of national heritage. To exploit advantages of India’s unique places as a cultural tourism destination and to utilise tourism as a major force in support of conversation of national heritage.
- Exploration of new tourist generating markets, particularly in the Middle-East, South East and East Asian Countries who have a broad spectrum of cultural affinity with India providing scope for large ethinic tourism.
- Launching a National image Building and Marketing Plan in key markets by pooling resources of various public and private agencies instead of independent and disjoined efforts presently undertaken by these organisers to project a better image to country which would yield abundant fall out for tourism growth and also be of advantage in trade and commerce.
- Provision of inexpensive but clean accomadation at different places of tourist intrest.
- Consolidation of operations rather than expansion and improvement in the service efficiency of public sector corporations in the tourism sector.
- Streamlining of facilitation procedures for passengers at the airports so that formalities and time taken to complete them is minimal.
The Department is already providing financial assistance for construction of Yatrikas for Pilgrim tourists, for which a registered society viz., Bharathiya Yatri Avas Vikas Samiti, has been set-up. The area of such activities would need to be expanded to provide assistance for consrtruction of low priced and inexpensive accommodations for low and middle class domestic tourists at different places of tourism intrest.
The programme for seventh plan included integrated development of major Buddhist pilgrimage centres/provisions of suitable accommodation, landscaped, meditation parks and pavilions, etc.
There is also considerable potential for increasing wildlife tourism to India. The number of national parks and wild-life sanctuaries in India had now gone up to 47 and 211 respectively. Of the national parks, over 15 are reserved under Project Tiger.
Adventure tourism, trekking in particular holds out great potential in terms of numbers. It would be necessary to bring together the Main Hill states as well as the airlines and the Youth Hostels. Association of India for formulation of co-ordinated programme of promotion of trekking.
Establishment of equipment hire shops, setting of mountain communication network system, rescue patrols and launching “keep the mountain clean” campaigns. Efforts are to be made to promote water sports, and other sports/ adventure activities in Seventh Plan.
A Tourism Finance Corporation of India was established in 1989 for financing hotels, tourist centre development, etc. It has financed 14 projects in backward ares with outlay of Rs.19.50 crores. Assistance to the tune of Rs.51.32 crore was made to 35 new entrepreneurs, Assistance to hotel projects amounted to Rs.95.95 crores. However, projects connected with tourist centres are not yet taken up on a large scale.