SAARC, Tourism - GS question based on India Year Book

1)   Which of the following are initially identified circuits under SWADESH DARSHAN Scheme

1) Buddhist Circuit
2) North-East Circuit
3) Wildlife circuit
4) Spiritual Circuit

a. Only 1 and 2
b. Only 1 and 4
c. Only 1, 2 and 3
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Only 1 and 2

5 Circuits are identified initially – North-East Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Himalayan Circuit and Krishna Circuit. 3 projects one each in North-East, Buddhist and Coastal Circuits are sanctioned in 2014-15. The Odisha Government has sought inclusion of Odisha’s ‘Diamond Triangle’ of Buddhist sites (Ratnagiri, Udayagiri, and Lalitagiri) in the SWADESH DARSHAN Scheme. Tourism Ministry has already identified Bodh Gaya, Rajgir and Vaishali in Bihar and Kapilavastu, Sarnath, Sravasti and Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh under the Buddhist circuit of Swadesh Darshan. Even though the Diamond Triangle in Odisha has immense potential to draw domestic and international travellers, the Union Ministry is yet to shift its focus towards it due to lack of tourist infrastructure at these sites. Funds from Swadesh Darshan can help in developing tourism amenities at these sites.

2)   Mr. Pat Farmer, an ultra-Marathon Runner from Australia will run in India. His run is called as

a. Spirit of India Run
b. Friendship Run
c. India-Australia Run
d. Inspiring India Run
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Spirit of India Run

The Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India along with State Tourism departments of the States of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir and Union Territory of Chandigarh are supporting ‘Spirit of India Run’ by Mr. Pat Farmer, an ultra-Marathon Runner from Australia. Mr. Pat Farmer will run over 4000 km in 60 days starting from Kanyakumari and finishing in Kashmir. He will initiate his run on January 26th, 2016 celebrating India's Republic Day and Australia Day. Mr. Farmer is a multiple world record holder for endurance running and has run from the North Pole to the South Pole. Mr. Farmer’s ‘Spirit of India Run’ is aimed at cementing relations between India and Australia; encourage tourism and personal relationships with a view to create awareness of India as a ‘Must Experience’ destination for travelers from Australia; and support causes and charity which in the current endeavor is to raise funds for education of girl child. Mr. Pat Farmer will run on an average 70-80 Km., daily through the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir and cover a distance of 4600 km.

3)   What was the focus of the 6th ITM 2017 held in Assam on 5th Dec, 2017?

a. Act East Policy
b. Start Up India
c. Digital India
d. Swachch Bharat
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Act East Policy

The 6th International Tourism Mart (ITM) 2017 was held in Guwahati, Assam. It was inaugurated by Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi, Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal and Union Tourism minister K L Alphons.

The three day program was organized by Union Ministry of Tourism in association with all North Eastern states.

The focus areas of 6th ITM was to spotlight on India's "Act East Policy", blossoming ties with ASEAN and larger East Asia region, home to world's rapidly growing economies and India's emerging tourism markets.

It also held panel discussions, workshops, business to business (B2B) meetings, cultural programs.

ITM: Know More

  • The International Tourism Mart is an annual event organised in North Eastern States on rotation basis.
  • Its objective is to highlight tourism potential of region in domestic and international markets.
  • It also brings together tourism business fraternity and entrepreneurs from the eight North Eastern States.
  • The earlier editions of this mart were held in Guwahati, Shillong, Tawang, Gangtok and Imphal.

4)   What is the name of the SAARC satellite to be launched on May 5, 2017?

a. South Asia Satellite
b. South Asian Association Satellite
c. South East Asia satellite
d. SAARC satellite
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: South Asia Satellite

The South Asia Satellite will be launched on May 5, India’s “priceless gift” to its neighbours as part of the 'sabka sath, sabka vikas' concept.

Seven out of eight SAARC countries are a part of the project which Pakistan refused to join as it did not want the "gift" from India.

The concept of 'sabka sath, sabka vikas' is not confined to India but is relevant globally too, especially in the context of the neighbourhood.

The benefits of this satellite will go a long way in meeting the developmental needs of the countries participating in this project.

This is an appropriate example of India's commitment towards South Asia. The satellite of South Asia will help in the overall development of the entire region

The benefits will be in the partner countries in areas of mapping of natural resources, tele-medicine, education, IT connectivity and people-to-people links, he said.

These countries, besides India, are Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Afghanistan.

Modi had made a unilateral proposal of India launching the satellite whose data would be shared with the eight SAARC countries for their development.

Initially, it was to be named as ‘SAARC Satellite’ but its name was changed to South Asia Satellite after Pakistan refused to join the project.

Basically, the satellite is meant for providing communication and disaster support, connectivity among the countries of South Asia region.

It will provide a significant capability to each of the participating countries in terms of DTH, certain VSAT capacity plus linking among the states for both disaster information transfer and also in terms of library type of things.

5)   Which rank was attained by India in WEF's Travel and Tourism Competitive Index?

a. 39
b. 40
c. 41
d. 42
Answer  Explanation 


There has been an improved rank of India in the Travel and Tourism Competitive Index (TTCI) of World Economic Forum released on 5th April 2017.

India has moved 12 places up in this ranking from 52nd to 40th position.

The tourism sector in the country has been on a growth trajectory since the present government came into power in May, 2014.

India’s ranking in the Travel and Tourism Competitive Index (TTCI) of World Economic Forum moved from 65rd position to 52nd position in 2015.

Now India has moved up by another 12 positions and ranked at 40th position.

In all, in last three years India has cumulatively improved its ranking by 25 places which is a significant achievement.

India continues to attract international tourists with its vast cultural and natural resources with a ranking of 9th and 24th respectively which are the USP’s of Indian Tourism product.

In terms of price competitiveness advantage, India is ranked 10th.

India continues to enrich its cultural resources, protecting more cultural sites and intangible expressions through UNESCO World Heritage lists, and via a greater digital presence.

In terms of International openness, India is ranked 55th, up by 14 places.

This has been possible through stronger visa policies. Implementing both visas on arrival and e-visas, has enabled India to rise through the ranks.

The T&T sector benefited from improvements in the country's ground transport infrastructure, which has traditionally been a challenge (29th).

At a macro level, the primary reasons for India’s jump in the Travel and Tourism Competitive Index 2017 should be attributed to the pro-active steps taken by our Government in terms of development of tourism infrastructure.

Also critical are the easing of entry formalities for tourists by introducing the e-visa facilities in November 2014.

WEF's TTCCI: Know More

  • The World Economic Forum has, for the past 11 years, engaged leaders in travel and tourism.
  • It also aims to carry out an in-depth analysis of the Travel and Tourism competitiveness of 136 economies across the world i.e.The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index
  • The index assesses the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector, which in turn, contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country”.
  • The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index enables all stakeholders to work together to improve the industry’s competitiveness in their national economies.
Some of the key achievements of the Ministry of Tourism in the last 3 years are as follows:-

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA) which were 6.97 million tourists in 2013, increased to 7.68 million in 2014, 8.03 million in 2015 and 8.89 million in 2016. FTA has grown with a CAGR of 8.45% against the international growth rate of 4-5%.
The Ministry of Tourism set up a Medical and Wellness Tourism Promotion Board on 5th October 2015 for the promotion of Medical and Wellness tourism in India.
The Ministry of Tourism created a task force for Cruise Tourism on 24th November 2015 to formulate a common Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for promotion of Cruise Tour- ism in India.
The Indian Culinary Institute (ICI) at Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh was set up and commenced its academic session with the 3-year regular B.Sc. course (Culinary Arts) from August 2016. The e-Tourist Visa was introduced in September 2014 for 46 countries. This facility is now called e-Visa. It is now available for nationals of 161 countries and allows visits for business and medical treatment. The process of obtaining the e-Tourist Visa has been simplified significantly by addressing issues like more than one entry and longer lead period for applying for e-Visa.10,79,696 tourists visited India on the e-Tourist Visa in 2016.
Incredible India Tourist Helpline was launched on 8th February 2016. The helpline provides assistance and information to tourists in 12 major languages of the world including Hindi & English. The helpline is available 24x7 and can be accessed on the Toll-free Number 1800- 11-1363 or on a short code 1363. The languages covered are Hindi, English, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE) which were US$18.45 billion tourists in 2013, increased constantly, to US$20.24 billion in 2014, US$21.07 billion in 2015 and US$23.15 billion in 2016. FEE has grown with a CAGR of 7.86% against a contraction of 5% in international tourism receipts. FTA has registered a growth of 16.3% in January 2017 when compared to January 2016.
FTA registered a growth of 16.5% in January 2017 compared to January 2016. FTAs during the period January- February 2017 were 19.40 lakh with a growth of 14.7%, as compared to the FTAs of 16.91 over January-February 2016.
The Ministry of Tourism has launched a ‘Welcome Card’ for distribution at immigration counters to tourists arriving at international airports. From 15th February 2017 the Ministry has introduced free SIM Cards with pre-loaded talk time and data to all tourists arriving in India on the e-Tourist Vis
18 projects worth Rs. 488.45 crores have been sanctioned under the PRASAD Scheme since its launch on 1st January 2015. 25 religious cities have been identified under the scheme for development.
56 projects covering 29 States /UT’s worth Rs. 4,823.91 crores have been sanctioned under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme since its launch on 1st January 2015. 13 thematic circuits have been identified under which projects are sanctioned.
Two new schemes for development of tourism infrastructure in the country with a holistic coverage of an entire circuit instead of individual tourist spots. PRASAD Scheme is targeted towards the development of tourism infrastructure in and around famous religious and pilgrimage cities. The Swadesh Darshan Scheme aims at the development of a complete circuit on a specific theme.

6)   Pakistan on March 1st saw its diplomat ________ elected as SAARC Secretary General.

a. Ali Hussein B.Sial
b. Amjad Hussain B. Sial
c. Amjad Hussein B. Sial
d. Atlaf Hussein B. Sial
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Amjad Hussein B. Sial

In a first, Pakistan on March 1, 2017 succeeded in getting an official elected to the post of Secretary General for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

Pakistan was backed by all members including India. The selection was consensus based.

Election is of administrative nature only. Pakistan will provide the next secretary general making a smooth transition from Nepal to Pakistan.

The new SAARC chief is a veteran diplomat and has been waiting to take charge since March 2016.

Sial was elected as Pakistan and India both want SAARC to function efficiently.

Following the terrorist attack in Uri, India had opposed the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in Nov 2016.

India had sent delegates including the Joint Secretary in charge of SAARC for meeting SAARC reps in February to finalise the issue of budget and admin matters.

Sial has assumed charge of the office of Secretary General of SAARC from March 1, 2017, according to a press release issued by SAARC Secretariat here.

He has succeeded Nepal's Arjun Bahadur Thapa, who was appointed the Secretary-General in 2014.

The Pakistani turn, which is held by rotation, starts from March 1, 2017, and continues till February 28, 2020.

About Amjad Hussein B. Sial: Know More

  • Sial's nomination was made by Pakistan at the SAARC Council of Ministers in Pokhara, Nepal, in March 2016 and was endorsed by all member states.
  • He is a seasoned diplomat from Pakistan Foreign Service with over 33 years of career in the diplomatic field.
  • Before joining the SAARC Secretariat Sial was Special Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.
  • He has a rich experience in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy both at Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad and Missions abroad.
  • Sial had served as Pakistan's ambassador to Tajikistan and permanent representative at Pakistan Mission to the UN.SAARC is an eight-member regional grouping that comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

7)   An MoU was signed for implementing Tourism projects in which state on 6th Feb 2017?

a. J&K
b. HP
c. UP
d. Uttarakhand
Answer  Explanation 


A Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for implementation of Tourism projects in Jammu and Kashmir was signed among Ministry of Tourism, M/s NPCC & NBCC and Government of Jammu and Kashmir on 6th Feb 2017.

The MoU was signed in the presence of Shri Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, M/o Tourism and the signatories for the MoU included

- Shri. Suman Billa, Joint Secretary , Ministry of Tourism ;

- Shri. Shamim Ahmad Wani, Managing Director, J&K Cable Car Corporation ;

- Shri. K K Sharma, Executive Director, M/s NPCC ; and

- Shri. Alok Rastogi, Chief General Manager (BD), M/s NBCC

The Prime Minister announced the Development Package (Reconstruction Plan) for Jammu and Kashmir on 7.11.2015.

The details of all proposals included in the Development Package for Tourism are as under:

  • Log Huts,
  • Heliports,
  • Open air theatre,
  • Walking trail,
  • Landscaping,
  • Solar lighting,
  • Solid waste management & public amenities etc.

8)   Island Tourism Festival is being held at which city?

a. Port Blair
b. Colombo
c. Diu
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Port Blair

Island Tourism Festival is an annual cultural event organized for the promotion of tourism and entertainment for islanders.

The main event is being held in Port Blair. A part of festival are also organized in other places like Wimberlygunj, Wandoor, Neil, Havelock, Rangat, Mayabunder, Diglipur, Hut Bay, Car Nicobar, Kamorta, Campbell Bay etc.

The ten-day festival is held annually from 5th January at ITF ground Port Blair.

The highlight of the festival at ITF ground is the exhibition depicting strides made by the Island Administration in various spheres and sale of general merchandise, food stalls, and stalls of interest to tourists, Floating Restaurant etc.

The main focal point, however, is the performance of mainland artists especially reputed music bands, Bollywood singers, dancers, performers etc.

Inaugurated by Lt. Governor Jagdish Mukhi at ITF Ground on 5th Jan, the 10 day mega event will see performances by the cultural troupes from mainland India to help the Islanders renew their cultural ties with mainland.

The cultural troupes from mainland as well as the Isles will also perform in outer Islands apart from South Andaman.

An International Cultural Group from Kazakhstan will also perform in this event. The other attractions of this event will be the food courts, fun games and handicrafts etc. Water sports competitions like Nicobari Hodi race are organized.

9)   How many tourists visited India in Dec 2016?

a. 8.91 lakh
b. 8.90 lakh
c. 7.91 lakh
d. 7.90 lakh
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 8.91 lakh

Demonetisation did not impact the tourist footfall adversely this year, with 8.91 lakh foreign tourists visited India in Nov 2016.

This marks the growth of 9.3 % over the same month last year.

Foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) during December 2015 was 8.16 lakh, while it was 7.65 lakh in December 2014.

Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism during the month of December were INR 14,474 crore as compared to INR 12,649 crore in the same month last year, recording a growth of 14.4 %.

The US accounted for highest share of tourist arrivals followed by the UK and Bangladesh in December 2016, according to an official release.

FTAs during January-December, 2016 were 78.53 lakh, recording a growth of 10.4 % as compared to 71.14 lakh during the corresponding period last year.

FEEs from tourism in January-December were Rs 1,38,845 crore, witnessing an increase of 14.7 % as compared to the INR 1,21,041 crore during the corresponding period last year.

Among the top 15 source countries in December, share of the US was highest with 15.53 %, followed by these:

15 Source countries with Highest Foreign Tourist Arrivals (Dec 2016)

“Country”Highest Foreign Tourist Arrivals (Dec 2016)
US(15.53 %)
UK(11.21 %)
Bangladesh(10.72 %)
Canada(4.66 %)
Russia(4.53 %)
Australia(4.04 %)
Malaysia(3.65 %)
Germany(3.53 %)
China(3.14 %)
France(2.88 %)
Sri Lanka(2.49 %)
Japan(2.49 %)
Singapore(2.16 %)
Nepal(1.46 %)
Thailand(1.37 %)

“Airport”Share of foreign tourists
Among the top 15 ports, the share of Delhi Airport was highest with(32.71 %)
followed by Mumbai Airport(18.51 %)
Chennai Airport(6.83 %)
Bengaluru Airport(5.89 %)
Haridaspur Land check post(5.87 %)
Goa Airport(5.63 %)
Kolkata Airport(3.90 %)
Cochin Airport(3.29 %)
The share of Hyderabad Airport was(3.14 %)
while that of Ahmadabad Airport(2.76 %)
Trivandrum Airport(1.54 %)
Trichy Airport(1.53 %)
Gede Rail(1.16 %)
Amritsar Airport(1.15 %)
Ghojadanga land check post(0.82 %)

10)   Government has constituted which council on 28th Oct 2016 to make India a global tourism hub?

a. Indian National Tourism Council
b. National Tourism Council
c. National Advisory Council
d. National Tourism Advisory Council
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: National Tourism Advisory Council

The government of India has constituted a national tourism advisory council with top officials of leading ministries and key names from the private sector as members take steps to help people to make the nation an international hub.

  • The Union tourism ministry on 28th Oct 2016 issued an order which said that this council, with a tenure of 3 years will act as a think tank and advise the government on numerous policy matters relating to tourism.
  • Secretaries of Union Home, Finance, Foreign, Culture, Civil Aviation, Urban Development, Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Drinking Water, Sanitation are members of this council along with chiefs such as the Railway Board and ITDC.

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