Commemorating World Tourism Day, which also coincided with the National Tourism Awards 2015-2016, the Ministry of Tourism unveiled three big initiatives to promote India as a preferred destination for tourists around the world — Incredible India 2.0 campaign; ‘Adopt A Heritage’ project and the new Incredible India website.
The National Tourism Awards 2015-16 ceremony held on September 27 was graced by President of India Ram Nath Kovind, who presented the awards to various segments of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. The occasion saw the President launching three big initiatives of MOT, namely ‘Incredible India 2.0 Campaign’; ‘Adopt a Heritage’ project and the new Incredible India website.
Welcoming the guests at the event was Minister of State (IC) for Tourism, K.J. Alphons, who praised the winners of the awards and asked them, as stakeholders of the industry to commit themselves to transform India into one of the most preferred destinations for travellers around the world. “India’s Foreign Tourist Arrivals and Domestic Tourist visits are on a growth trajectory. India’s ranking in the Travel and Tourism Competitive Index 2017 of World Economic Forum moved from 65th position to 52nd position in 2015 and now India’s position has moved up by another 12 positions and it is ranked at 40th position. It is the destination that meets the needs of all travellers. Our collective goal is to develop the tourism sector in India in a sustainable and responsible manner,” he said in his address.
Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Tourism, said that the National Tourism Award winners are very important stakeholders for them. When asked about how these winners are included in the ministry’s decision making, she said, “We consult them at every stage and whenever we are making any changes in our guidelines or initiatives. All the awardees and their representatives come to attend meetings with MOT. Niti Aayog has also set up a working group on tourism to look at ways of promoting tourism on a faster track so that we are able to create more employment in our country and there also, members of the industry are part of the working group. We have had the first meeting of this working group already.” Speaking on the new projects, Verma said, “It was a very important event for us today. Not only was it the World Tourism Day, we launched three big initiatives that the MOT is taking for promotion of our country.”
Incredible India 2.0
Verma said that the new campaign— Incredible India 2.0, is going to be largely different from the earlier campaign. “The earlier campaign was a little generic in nature and the same campaign was running throughout the world, whereas the new campaign will be country specific. For each country, depending on what kind of products they look for, we are getting product specific films made and we will be targeting the countries accordingly. We will be using these thematic films for targeting our earlier markets like USA and Europe, as well as emerging markets like China, etc.,” Verma informed.
Incredible India website
“Our Prime Minister had desired last year for a dynamic website and based on that, we have taken this initiative to make it completely interactive and personalised. It’s a huge initiative and a lot of sourcing will be done through social media also. We will be connecting our website with the state websites, ASI, Ministry of Culture and some other stakeholders also. The website will be changing every second as we will be sourcing content throughout. We have done a pilot launch right now and we hope to have the full website launch in two months, when it will be made more user-friendly,” she added, while talking about the new website.
Adopt a Heritage
Verma shared that the upkeep of the monuments has been a matter of concern for them for a long time “While heritage has been the biggest USP of India, we have not been able to showcase it properly because of lack of world class basic amenities in these monuments. A lot of effort has been made by ASI and other organisations, but we have not yet achieved what we had wanted. Thus, as the first initiative, we are offering cluster of monuments to the private sector, public sector and individuals who can adopt them. They can become ‘Monument Mitras’ and be responsible for maintaining the cleanliness, basic amenities like toilets, drinking water, amenities for physically challenged etc.” Verma informed.
She shared that the government is planning to handover certain monuments during the Tourism Parv, being celebrated from October 5-25, 2017. “The Tourism Parv will be celebrated throughout the country with the help of other stakeholders and other ministries. We have identified one iconic site in each state, where we will be having plethora of activities centred around that monument or that site and there will be workshops, sensitisation programmes and exhibition of handlooms & handicrafts. We want to make people understand how tourism can completely change the economy, and thus making them equal stakeholders in promotion of tourism,” she informed