Its simple, innovative and first of its kind of bold initiative undertaken by the Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, KJ Alphons to engage directly with the representative of strategic travel markets. The interaction held by Tourism Minsiter with diplomatic representatives under the aegis of the Ambassador’s Forum under “Meet the leader” series on 10 July 2018 is an apt illustration of keenness on part of India to promote bilateral tourism.
Addressing mediapersons after the Ambassadors’ meet, Alphons said that the Ministry wants to promote India through the message of ‘Transformational Experience’ as highlighted in its recent promotional films like ‘Yogi of the Racetrack’ which has already had record breaking 25 million views. These videos are being translated into 9 foreign languages, the Minister added. Giving more details, Alphons said that India is looking at China as an emerging market for foreign tourist arrivals and the Tourism Ministry has already set up its office in Beijing. The promotional videos are also being translated into Chinese, he explained.
Addressing the participants, the Minister said that the Indian culture can contribute a lot to the world community and Indian culture and philosophy talks about bringing happiness and joy to all, and we want to promote and spread this message to the world.
Alphons also outlined the overall growth trajectory of the Indian Tourism Industry, especially in the year 2017 where the Foreign Tourist Arrivals crossed the 10 million mark for the first time and with the inclusion of NRI’s, the international tourist arrival stood at 15.54 million. The minister also presented various proactive steps taken by the government of India towards tourism infrastructure development, ease of travel, safety and security of the tourists and integrated global marketing campaign.
The participants highlighted the importance of improving connectivity to promote tourism and a few countries requested for direct flights of Air India connecting the capital cities of various countries to India. They also offered to give incentives to Bollywood producers/directors for shooting films at beautiful locations in their countries.
As part of the interaction, a presentation on the tourism trends, India’s strong outbound travel potential and few promotional videos were shared with the invitees by Joint Secretary, Tourism Ministry, Suman Billa. Secretary tourism, Rashmi Verma and senior officials of Ministry of Tourism including the Chairman and Managing Director of ITDC, participated in this interaction.
Alphons further explained that the government is working to tap the potential of Buddhist tourism. Tourist facilities at Sarnath are being upgraded tremendously along with road connectivity and wayside amenities and the same are likely to be completed by year end, the Minister disclosed.
Earlier in the day, the Minister inaugurated a workshop on development, branding and promotion of Buddhist circuit and participated in the discussions on the development of Sarnath under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of the Ministry of Tourism. This workshop was conducted in partnership with the World Bank group. The representatives of the State governments of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Archaeological Survey of India,Varanasi Development Authority participated in the workshop.
The Ministry of Tourism has identified Buddhist Circuit as one of the thematic Circuits under its flagship “Swadesh Darshan” Scheme for development of Infrastructure in various states in the country with the help of State Government/Private stakeholders.