The government must not tell tourists what to eat or drink, and doing so can hurt the tourism industry, Niti Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant said on Friday.

He said India needs to focus on cleanliness and “create experiences” for tourists. “In the evening, he wants to relax and he wants to chill out, and therefore you need to create that evening experience for [the tourist] in terms of Indian culture,” Kant said.

In a session on tourism at India Economic Summit, the Niti Aayog chief said: “I have been a long term believer of 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.”

Kant was responding to a question about his views on states banning beef and alcohol consumption in recent months.

His statement comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about growing alcoholism and substance abuse among the youth. In September, Minister of State (Independent charge) for Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam had said that the Bharatiya Janata Party “does not mandate that beef cannot be eaten”.