India at its 69th Republic Day celebrations with ten ASEAN heads as the chief guests reflected the desire of its billion plus people to enhance bilateral trade and people to people connect. The call of Prime Minister Modi to celebrate 2018-19 as India-ASEAN year of tourism on sidelines of the event to commemorate the silver jubilee of the India-ASEAN relationship is a giant leap in this direction.
Industry for sure will have an important role to convert the said vision through mission mode into reality. Also, the state factors here will need create the enabling eco-system. Speaking at one of the business events organised to commemorate 25th Year of India-ASEAN relations; the travel man of India- Subhash Goyal, who had spent over five decades into travel industry with his growing family of various brands under the STIC family and represents several trade bodies of tour operators, industry leaders and exporters, spelled out a roadmap to covert Modi’s India-ASEAN dream into reality.
“Former Prime Minister of India- Atal Bihari Vajpayee in his tenure had called for open skies policy for India and ASEAN countries. To some extent work in this direction has materialised but that is way below the level of expectations our Present Prime Minister Narendra Modi has in terms of building the India-ASEAN trade, tourism and people to people connect. 2018-19 now being mulled as the India-ASEAN Tourism Year- work in this direction to enhance air connectivity between India-ASEAN should be fast paced now,” said Goyal.
“Visa on Arrival is another aspect. India has extended its desire through the E-Visa facility to the ASEAN countries, but Brunei and Myanmar for some reasons has not reciprocated a similar diplomatic gesture. Indian travellers are the highest spenders overseas and inviting the to their shores will help bolster India and ASEAN ties as seen from the instances of over a million Indian visitors to Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia respectively. But, then India also need tourists from the ASEAN member nations to undertake Incredible India experience and visit India for an exemplary holiday options that will further enhance their lifestyles and for many of them connect them with Buddha many ways,” adds Goyal.