Extending Diwali greetings, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday batted for promoting "festival tourism" in the country, saying we should welcome people from other states and countries while celebrating festivals such as Holi and Pongal. In his monthly Mann ki Baat radio address, he also referred to the unique "Swachh Siachen" campaign launched by soldiers to clean up the icy battlefield of 130 tonnes of trash.
He said the feat is remarkable as nothing decomposes in the icy heights easily. With the country celebrating the 550th Prakash Utsav or birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November, the prime minister referred to his teachings of peace, harmony and equality.
Paying tributes to then prime minister Indira Gandhi ahead of her death anniversary on October 31, Modi also urged people to participate in large numbers in the "run for unity" on Thursday. The marathon is organised every year on October 31 since 2014 to mark the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
While referring to tourism, he said the Statue of Unity in Gujarat has drawn 26 lakh tourists in its first year. It has generated employment opportunities for locals also. Modi said festival tourism has its own exciting attractions. India, the country of festivals, possesses limitless possibilities in the realm of festival tourism.
"It must be our endeavour to ensure that we should welcome people of other states, other countries when we celebrate Holi, Diwali, Onam, Pongal or Bihu, spreading their true spirit," he said. Every state, every region is replete with distinct festivals, generating a lot of interest in people from other countries, he said. The Indian diaspora has a significant role to play in promoting festival tourism in India, he suggested