‘Segment offerings across India’

India’s foremost offering in tourism is culture and heritage, but as a sub-continent, the country has a lot to offer, says Manisha Saxena, Director General, Tourism, Government of India, while attending the 17th Outlook & Update Meeting by the PATA India Chapter in New Delhi recently. ‘We want to make wildlife a big tourism offering,’ the DG says.

Surbhi Sharma

With the new government taking charge at the centre, hopes are high that it will work with the travel and trade industry to develop new products and destinations, work on strategies to facilitate tourism growth and attract more international tourists. Taking the government’s vision forward, Manisha Saxena, Director General, Tourism, Government of India, attended the 17th Outlook & Update Meeting by the PATA India Chapter in New Delhi recently. During the event, Saxena highlighted the government’s target to increase the tourist footfall and how the Ministry of Tourism (MOT), with the help of industry stakeholders, is preparing a roadmap in this regard. The Government of India has put a lot of emphasis on tourism as the driver of economic growth, especially as a means of employment, she said.

Segment offerings
Emphasising that “We cannot offer everything to everyone,” Saxena said, “it is important to segment the offerings across India. In India, we have 60 G20 locations, for which we need to curate what kind of conference can be held in which convention centre. We also need to work with state governments to create more accommodations as this is a big bottleneck, especially for MICE.”

When asked how the government is helping the MICE community in India, Saxena said, “We have done many events to promote MICE tourism in India through campaigns like Meet in India. We are working with the industry to make it easier for them to organise more events in India, so that the country can be showcased as a MICE destination that it can be.”

Digitalising Incredible India
Giving updates about the digitalisation of the new Incredible India portal at the meeting, Saxena said that this time it is not only curated by the tourism ministry but has a lot of integration with the OTAs, influencers, bloggers, and people from the travel and tourism industry.

“The new website, which will be launching soon, has several new features, such as a separate section on trips, experiences, and crafts of India and a content hub for digital creators for social media,” she added.

International marketing
Speaking about the ministry’s role in the promotion of India abroad, Saxena said, “We are participating in international fairs and festivals, we are working through the Indian Missions to promote India’s tourism offerings, and since India is such a vast destination with so much variety, we are also trying to segment the offerings according to the interests of various countries.” She added, “With the new government in place, the new budget will soon resolve the reoccurring issues related to our overseas representation, marketing and promotion since we have no tourism offices abroad, including the old OPMD scheme.”

Identify new source market
Speaking about India as a source market, Saxena said, “India’s foremost offering in tourism is culture and heritage but as a sub-continent, we have a lot to offer. We want to make wildlife a big tourism offering. We need to segment the offerings not only to the traditional source markets but also to countries in newer regions like Southeast Asia, South Africa, South America and others expressing their interest in India. And for this purpose, Indian airline companies are launching flights to every conceivable corner of the world to cater to the traffic that must be two-way.”

MOT initiatives
Highlighting the MOT efforts, she said, “India has been at the forefront of promoting sustainable tourism. In line with PM Modi’s ‘Mission Life’, we have come up with a sectoral programme, ‘Travel for Life’ that aims to create awareness about sustainable tourism and encourage tourists and tourism businesses to adopt sustainable practices and mindful approach in managing the resources.”

Expressing her happiness about the upcoming events, she said that the World Heritage Committee meeting is happening in Delhi next month. “Besides working with the state government on varied aspects, curating and refining the product is something that only the travel and trade industry will be able to help us achieve. Also, a conference on Ganga trade, one of MOT’s mega-adventure trades will be happening soon,” she said.

“The MOT has a destination development division, a marketing and promotion division, and a product development division but a handful of us in the ministry cannot be at every place in the country. Therefore, we are seeking the help and cooperation of the industry people for curating tourism products,” she added.

The meeting was attended by the stalwarts of the travel and trade, aviation and hospitality industry.

Check Also

MOT’s summer mantra

In a bid to lure foreign tourists to Indian shores during the summer months, and …