kerala tourism dancers
kerala tourism dancersReuters

The upcoming three-day investors summit slated to take place from September 21 to 23 in New Delhi, is expected to fetch investments to the tune of $8 billion through some 600 projects, according to Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism, Mahesh Sharma.

Jointly organised under the leadership of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and union tourism ministry and to be inaugurated by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the first-of-its-kind mega tourism summit -- Incredible India Tourism Investors Summit – is already gaining traction.

About 144 investors from 70 companies have already confirmed their participation in the event to explore various sectors associated with tourism such as aviation, hospitality, civic amenities, roadways and related aspects.

"Around 600 projects would be showcased during the summit. We expect to attract Rs 50,000 crore investment. Nearly 144 investors have already confirmed their participation in the event," Sharma told PTI.

Sharma suggested that many challenges have to be overcome to build world-class tourism infrastructure in the country. For improving security of tourists that Sharma called a "prime concern," the union minister asserted that India will offer a 24*7 helpline in a record 12 languages. Along with it, the tourism ministry is set to establish an investment desk to help and guide investors.

Another concern is to improve connectivity through creating new and improved roads, new airports and railway stations. On the same issue, Sharma said that to improve access to the northeastern states, helicopter services would be started in areas which are difficult to access by roads.

Commenting on whether or not Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be unveiled as the brand ambassador of the tourism campaign–Incredible India, Sharma attributed India's gradually improving image as a tourist destination to Modi's global travels. The causal link he explains is that India witnessed a 40 percent growth in tourist footfall mostly from the countries visited by Modi.

"We have provided you the data. India has witnessed a growth of five to 40 percent in tourist footfalls from the nations which Modi has visited in the last two years, except from Russia which is sending lower number of tourists now. The image of the country has improved considerably among the foreign tourists. The Prime Minister is the symbol of Indian identity," Sharma said.