Great India Travel Bazaar back in Jaipur with a bang
Vasundhara Raje, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, inaugurated the seventh edition of 'The Great Indian Travel Bazaar' on April 19, 2015, which was back in Jaipur after a hiatus of one year. The travel mart targeted potential consumers of tourism products from across the globe and India, and was organised by FICCI, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan.
Raje said that Rajasthan and tourism were synonyms and a mart like the Great Indian Travel Bazaar gives the state a platform to bring together tour operators from around the world along with policy makers and others stakeholders under one roof and an opportunity to promote the city and state's tourists' destinations.
She also shared with the audience the discovery of old heritage remains while excavation for a metro construction site in the old city of Jaipur. Raje was of the view that the discovery may help in increasing the number of tourists visiting the city.
On promoting tourism in Rajasthan, Raje said that the state government was all set to review the Tourism Unit Policy and had increased the tourism budget exponentially, almost 100 per cent with the expectation that it will reap benefits in future.
The dearth of air connectivity within the state was also an issue that was being looked upon and an internal airline may be started to allow tourists to move faster within the state, said Raje.
On the occasion, the Chief Mminister announced the dates of 'The Great Indian Travel Bazaar' for 2016 as April 17, 18 and 19 and released a FICCI- EY Knowledge Paper on 'Unexplored Tourism Destinations of India'.
Usha Sharma, Additional DG Tourism, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, said that the government had started with etourist visa for 44 countries, which would be extended to 150 countries soon. It meant that a person of any of these 44 countries could apply for a visa online, made the payment through e-gateway and within three days could get an e-travel authorisation.
Sharma said that there was a need to showcase new products. Hence, the government had started a new scheme 'Swadesh Darshan' to promote unexplored destinations. Also, new themes had been introduced to endorse places of tourists' attraction such as Desert theme, Coastal theme and Himalayan theme.
She said that safety and security has been a concern for tourists visiting India, hence sensitisation programmes have been conducted to assist authorities in handling situations with utmost urgency and prompt action. For assistance of tourists, a government helpline was already active and another info line will be launched soon in 13 languages to help guide tourists, she said.
Dr. Jyotsna Suri, President, FICCI, Chairperson - FICCI Tourism Committee and C&MD, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, said that GITB had grown exponentially and so far had hosted almost 1800 foreign tour operators, 50 countries from across the globe made their presence felt at the mart each year and more than 57000 prescheduled B2B meetings had been held besides the innumerable on the spot B2Bs.
Dr. A Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI, said that this year the travel mart had exceeded all its preceding records by prescheduling more than 10,000 B2B meetings. He added that besides, Gujarat being a partner state, 10 state governments had been active partners of GITB.
Dipak Deva, Co-Chairman, FICCI Tourism Committee and CEO - Destination Management (India and South Asia), Kuoni Travel Group, moderated the
Vasundhara Raje, Chief Minister of Rajasthan (centre) releasing FICCI- EY Knowledge Paper on 'Unexplored Tourism Destinations of India'.