Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism (MOT), Government of India, claims that the MOT has taken necessary steps for the growth of Indian tourism and creation of awareness about the country’s vast tourism potential to showcase the country on a global stage.
Big on growth
The last one year has been extremely productive in terms of inbound tourism with several initiatives being undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism, informs Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism. “Last year, we crossed the 10 million mark in terms of foreign tourist arrivals for the first time and witnessed a growth of about 14 per cent. In the past one year, we have managed to undertake many innovative steps to achieve an ambitious target of doubling this number to 20 million in the next three years,” she said.
Verma informed that MOT initiated two new schemes— ‘Adopt a Heritage’ and development of 12 iconic sites for creating world-class facilities apart from its flagship schemes of Swadesh Darshan and PRASAD (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive). “Under ‘Adopt a Heritage’, we have sought partnership from the corporate sector, NGOs and other organisations to create the best facilities in and around our tourist sites. We received tremendous response from the corporate sector, while some organisations and schools have also come forward to adopt tourist sites and partner with us to offer a better tourist experience,” she stated.
Talking about developing 12 iconic sites, she says, “We’ve had stakeholders’ consultation on all the 10 iconic sites and are in the process of having consultants who will be making a master plan for the development of these sites. A lot of emphasis is being laid on community participation and development of all avenues like connectivity, infrastructure, skilling, etc.”
MOT at WTM 2018
We will be participating at WTM this year too. We have occupied 650 sqm of space there and about 27 co-exhibitors will be going with us. The delegation will be led by Tourism Minister (I/C) K J Alphons, along with the Joint Secretary. The theme for WTM India pavilion is ‘Festivals of India.’ We are planning to have an India evening on November 6 themed on Diwali. We are hopeful that we will be able to showcase to the world that India is a land of festivals, joy and celebrations. We already have a lot of interest generated in India as a destination because of the Incredible India 2.0 campaign. We hope to continue generating this kind of interest in India as a year-round destination
Marketing in full swing
Verma talked about MOT’s three-pronged strategy. We have increased our G2G (government to government) interaction by signing many MoUs and organising several joint action group meetings to implement some of the action plans, drawn out for cooperation with various countries,” she said.
MOT has also enhanced its presence on digital platform as well as on electronic media. “We launched the Incredible India 2.0 and five new films in the last one year, and have received tremendous response,” Verma added.
Engagement with trade
Verma further asserted, “Apart from our participation in all major tourism fairs in the world, we also had the largest Buddhist Conclave, where around 200 delegates participated from across the world, including not only pilgrims but also tour operators as well as media from Buddhist countries.”
Talking about the recently-held India Tourism Mart (ITM), she said, “ITM was an industry-led event supported by us, which started in conjunction with the 12-day Paryatan Parv. At the three-day ITM, we received more than 250 buyers from 60 countries who had business meetings with almost an equal number of Indian sellers.”
“We also took a number of strides in connecting with the consumers directly by organising roadshows in key as well as emerging markets. The introduction of e-visa has been one of the biggest game changers and has been a huge contributor to the commendable growth last year. Our partnership with Google to showcase some of our tourist sites through its 3D imaging technique is another step towards using digital platform to market our tourism sites,” she claimed.
- MOT launched a platform that will open doors for people to register themselves as tourist facilitators through online training and get certified