Incredible India 2.0 at ITB

Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, MOT shares the details of the ministry’s plans for ITB, where they will also unveil the first film under the Incredible India 2.0 campaign.

NISHA VERMA

The Ministry of Tourism is doing a big pitch at ITB this year, says Suman Billa. “We crossed 10 million FTAs in 2017 and we’ve also done a record 15.8 per cent growth in FTAs in 2017. Thus, all the cues are looking good for tourism. We have a strong delegation as always, which will be led by the minister. Apart form the inaugural of the India pavilion, we’ll also be doing a press briefing. Besides that, we will be doing an Indian evening on the second day as well as a breakfast meeting with the tour operators.”

Publicity & marketing

Claiming that there will be an increased focus on the Incredible India 2.0 campaign this year, Billa says, “In this year’s Budget, we’ve got a 50 per cent increase for publicity. From `300 crore, it has jumped to `450 crores, which is basically for Incredible India 2.0 campaign. The first of the creatives is ready and it is going to be launched internationally. We are doing a soft launch on that. It’s a set of six films, which are being made now, and we will be doing a big India launch shortly as we are expecting the films to be ready by March. We will only launch one film, which is ready, at ITB. The campaign has changed fundamentally. Earlier it was a collage, and now we are doing six films which are thematically different and are based on Yoga, Ayurveda, culinary, luxury, adventure and heritage. We are taking up all these things differently and we are changing the way we are doing publicity abroad. Hence, we need to push the product which sells in the market, making sure that it is market specific and product specific.”

We will be focusing on Latin American countries. ASEAN is going to be big as 2019 will be the year of cooperation between India and ASEAN. Europe is a key market for us. Middle East is also yielding well for us

New Markets

While Europe has been a strong market traditionally for India, there will be focus on new markets as well. “We will be focusing on Latin American countries. ASEAN is going to be big as 2019 will be the year of cooperation between India and ASEAN. Engagement with the US is going strong, while Europe is a key market for us. Middle East is also yielding well, but I think high growth markets will be China and Russia,” adds Billa.

Infrastructure focus

This year’s Budget focused primarily on infra structure. “We have already invested a lot in infrastructure development. Over the past three years, the sanctioned projects are worth `6000 crores, out of which we have 30 projects which will come on stream this year. That’s about `3000 crores worth of projects, which is going to be a lot of tourism and public infrastructure this year. Secondly, in the last budget, special tourism zones were announced, which is going to be upstream because we have already presented it to the Ministry of Finance. Once we get the clearance, we are going to be calling for five special tourism zones across the country. These zones are expected to be about 300 acres with 3000 hotel rooms and are going to be large magnets which will come up across the country and would also enable the supply side,” reveals Billa.

Five special tourism zones across the country are going to be called  for. These zones are expected to be about 300 acres with 3000 hotel rooms, as the focus is specially on tourism development and public infrastructure

He adds that that this year the focus will be on 10 iconic sites and converting them into world class facilities. “We have identified these sites and at least the first level of work on tourism in these iconic sites will be finished by the end of this year or early next year. We will have a three-pronged push on infrastructure. These iconic sites include Khajuraho; Fatehpur Sikri and Taj Mahal; Hampi; Kaziranga; Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar and Red Fort; Mahabalipuram; Dholavira and Somnath in Gujarat; as well as Ajanta, Ellora in Maharashtra.”

Iconic Sites 

Khajuraho; Fatehpur Sikri and Taj Mahal; Hampi; Kaziranga; humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar and Red Fort; Mahabalipuram; Dholavira and Somnath in Gujarat; as well as Ajanta, Ellora in Maharashtra

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