Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday asked tech-savvy youths to emulate the pattern of app-based cab aggregators to exploit the vast tourism potential of India by promoting the concept of homestays.
The prime minister was responding to a question posed by a student on how to exploit the tourism potential of Orissa.
"I believe that the youth can start a big business in tourism on the pattern of Uber (an app-based cab service). Today, I have so many youths in front of me who are into technology. You come forward and I assure you that you can go beyond Uber," he said.
"You can develop an app so that a tourist can plan his entire trip from the time he leaves his home to going back. You can develop such a mechanism through crowdsourcing and connect the world," Modi said.
The prime minister said India had a lot of potential in tourism but it had shown tardiness.
"The first condition for tourism is that you to learn to take pride in your things. We always downplay our things, if we do not take pride then who will? Other places if they have even a pole, they weave such stories about it that one feels its importance," he said.
Modi said the number of rooms available for tourists will go up 10 times if the concept of homestay is put to use.
"I throw a challenge to the youth that they make a start on Uber pattern to find out how many people want to give rooms for homestay. You will find that you will have 10 times more rooms than the presently available hotel rooms," he said.
"I attended the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas in Varanasi recently, I am the local MP from Kashi. I told the people (about homestay). I was surprised that thousands came forward that they will provide rooms to foreign guests. Slowly, a big business of homestay will develop in Kashi. Now they are used to it," he added.
He said the concept was popular across the world.
Modi said India had monuments and other objects of historical importance dating back 2000 to 5000 years, which can attract tourists from across the world.
He said cleanliness and the attitude of people towards tourists will also go a long way in realising the true potential of the tourism sector. PTI