With the widening alcohol prohibition threatening to impact the country’s tourism industry, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said it is not the states’ business to decide what a tourist should eat and drink.
“Indian states can’t get into what a tourist wants to eat and drink. Just not possible…what he wants to eat and drink is his individual business and not the states’ business,” he said at India Economic Summit of the World Economic Forum (WEF) here.
He was asked whether states banning beef and alcohol have failed to realise what Dubai did so brilliantly, as the country needs tourists who should be extended every facility they need.
“I have been a long term believer on couple of things. Tourism is essentially civilisational in character; you can’t have garbage and filth and say that we have great heritage sites. So, India must focus on cleanliness. It is number one. Number two it’s about seamless experience,” he said.
At least four states — Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Daman — have announced plans to bar liquor sales, adding to the list that includes Gujarat, Bihar, Nagaland and Manipur which are already dry.
The proponents of prohibition maintain India has highest whiskey sales in the world leading to a plethora of social ills and needs to be checked. Also, they say, drunk driving is a leading cause of road accidents and binge drinking is a big problem in the country.
Asked by the moderator if he has told the political leadership about his views on the impact of this prohibition on tourists, he said: “I have said it all the time that for a tourist…it’s about creating experiences. In the evening he wants to relax and he wants to chill out and therefore you need to create that evening experience for (him) in terms of Indian culture.”