January 13, 2021, 1:10 PM

Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu

Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu

While addressing students at Institute of Hotel Management in Goa, on Tuesday, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said that he had never dreamt of becoming Vice President of India but he had ambition to become something big.
“My ambition was to become something big and important, though I never dreamt of becoming Vice President of India. I am fortunate I became something,” Naidu said, while talking about his childhood dream. 
Calling upon hospitality industry to leverage its tourism potential to enhance India’s soft power globally, the Vice President said, “In India, we believe in the concept of Atithi Devo Bhava.’ The multitude of tourism and religious destinations in India, our rich cultural heritage, our cuisine and friendly and welcoming attitude of most Indians towards foreigners will definitely help in attracting more visitors to India.”
“Our hospitality industry must fully leverage India’s tourism potential and institutes like this have an important role in enhancing India’s soft power globally,” he said.
Naidu underlined the importance of the travel and tourism sector to the economy as one of the largest employment generators, employing 87.5 million people, equivalent to 12.75% of employment share in 2018-19. 
Acknowledging that travel sector was badly hit by the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, Naidu said that he was confident that the hospitality industry would bounce back.
“Unfortunately this vibrant sector is among the hardest hit by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As per United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates, the pandemic has caused 70% decline in international tourism, taking the levels back by 30 years.”

He also urged the people to give preference to visiting local tourist destinations- starting with their neighbouring states.

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