India on a Spanish sojourn

Wrapping up 2017 with new announcements and initiatives including Incredible India 2.0 and Adopt a Heritage, the Ministry of Tourism is all set to participate in international tourism shows including FITUR and BIT Milan. Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, tells TRAVTALK more about these initiatives.

NISHA VERMA

India is the Partner State at FITUR and MOT is all prepped up. “This time we are participating at FITUR in a big way. Being the partner country, we will be building up to the mart. In fact, a lot of publicity campaigns will be run in and around Madrid during that time. We will also be interacting with tour operators and invite the top ones to participate in FITUR as well as the media from these countries. We are giving a lot of importance to FITUR this time, because we see these countries as big emerging markets for India. Thus, we will be sending a very high level delegation comprising three to four delegates from the Ministry as well to participate in FITUR,” she informed.

Clearing the air over BIT Milan

Inbound tour operators were in disagreement with MOT’s previous decision to not participate in BIT Milan this year. However, Verma informed that they will now be going to Milan with their delegation and thoroughly promote India Tourism. “Initially BIT Milan was not part of our marketing plan, but now since many tour operators feel that it is an important event, we have revised our marketing plan,” she clarified.

New marketing plan for overseas offices

Verma clarifies, “We are not closing down our foreign offices; we are just restructuring our overseas presence in terms of creating some major hubs. The manpower of the existing offices will be transferred to these seven-eight hubs. In fact, we have completely changed our marketing strategy as we are now focusing more on digital and centralised global marketing.”

Incredible India website

Speaking about the delay in launch of the new website, which was scheduled for December 25, 2017, Verma said that they have already completed work on the website, but wanted to add more content to the same. “We should be launching the new website by the third week of January. We are thinking of sourcing more material and images, which could take some more time. Otherwise, technologically it is ready,” she claimed.

Looking back at 2017

Referring to 2017 as a great year for India Tourism, Verma said, “We have recorded a 16 per cent growth in terms of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) and a growth of about 17 per cent in terms of Foreign Exchange Eearnings (FEEs), which is much higher than the rate in which world tourism is growing. This means that India as a destination is now considered very seriously by foreign travellers. We hope to continue with this rate of growth. If we are able to work on some existing challenges faced by the sector, I believe we will have an even better year in 2018.”

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