Emerging markets on MOT radar

The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, is undertaking aggressive marketing and promotional campaigns under a restructured scheme. With a thematic and market specific Incredible India 2.0 campaign, the ministry is targeting emerging markets like Japan, Spain, China and Russia.

ANKITA SAXENA

This year at ITB Berlin, the delegation from the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, will be led by the Tourism Minister along with the Joint Secretary and two officials from the department. Officials from the local offices of MOT in Europe will also be joining them at the show, informs Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

Verma informs that India was the partner country with FITUR this year and received a very warm response. Apart from the already established markets like the US and Europe, MOT is aggressively targeting the new emerging source markets like Japan, China and Russia. Dedicated campaigns are being planned for these markets. She states that a new integrated marketing plan is underway for the next year whereby a centralised campaign will be run by MOT and will have a detailed plan for the overseas offices. “It was encouraging to see a lot of interest being generated for India. Aggressive branding was undertaken and was very well received. Spain has emerged as one of our key source markets and we feel that we need to focus more on the South American continent, one which is showing a lot of interest for heritage and ecotourism products in India. We need to have dedicated campaigns in Portugal and other Spanish speaking countries,” Verma adds.

The Ministry of Tourism has completely changed its overseas marketing plan. Verma explains that under the restructured scheme, a hub-and-spoke model is being adopted whereby MOT will hold eight tourist offices abroad which will act as tourism hubs. “Public Relations agencies will be employed for dissemination of information. The Missions and Embassies have shown keen interest in this strategy and will be instrumental in identifying the marketing agencies soon,” she adds.

Verma believes that the Incredible India 2.0 campaign is market and product specific unlike the previous, generic campaign. She explains, “It is more thematic in nature and to support the same we have made new films for every product. We have done our research and market analysis to identify the products in demand in specific markets and will run the campaigns accordingly. We are focusing on promoting niche tourism products like golf tourism, cruise tourism, adventure tourism, wellness and cuisine, etc. For example, one of our films on wellness and Yoga is up and running in the European market since the demand for these products is high there.”

“Spain has emerged as one of our key source markets and we feel that we need to focus more on the South American continent which is showing a lot of interest for heritage and ecotourism products in India. We need to have dedicated campaigns in Portugal and other Spanish speaking countries”

To incentivise foreign tour operators to promote India and generate demand, MOT will begin giving brochure support to key foreign tour operators again. “It is important that India features in the itineraries of the FTOs and for that we are going to give them this support. We will also conduct Fam trips to give first-hand experience of the destination.”

When asked about the launch date of the new website which has been long awaited, Verma points out that MOT has completed the exercise of content curation and will now be testing the same in a pilot phase with limited users to fine-tune it further. “The website is more personalised and interactive and I am sure that there will be a marked difference in the user experience.”

Updating on the progress made under the Adopt a Heritage scheme, Verma explains that NBCC and Yatra.com have submitted their detailed plans for the adopted monuments and have already received the clearance from ASI. “Since ASI is involved with devising the plans for the scheme from the beginning, getting approvals for the same is fast track and easy. We have also signed MoUs with two state governments—Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir for maintenance and upgrading of trekking routes.”

Addressing the tout menace at major tourist sites, the Tourism Secretary assures that the Ministry is in dialogue with various state governments and has received assurances that there will be concrete steps taken to handle this issue. “We are working on developing 10 iconic sites as announced by the Finance Minister. We have conducted a preliminary gap analysis and are waiting to finish the stakeholder consultation by mid-April. After the research is complete, we will execute the plans already in place,” she adds.

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