CAN TOURISM BE THE OUT­LIER FOR A ‘NEW IN­DIA’?

Tourism and Travel In­dus­try Hails FICCI's Great In­dian Travel Bazaar for Suc­cess­fully Com­plet­ing a Decade

FICCI Business Digest - - News -

It was 2012, when I had my first tryst with the Great In­dian Travel Bazaar (GITB), FICCI's an­nual flag­ship tourism event, which cel­e­brated its decade-long jour­ney in Jaipur this year in April. I dis­tinctly re­call wit­ness­ing a great mi­lieu at The Lalit, Jaipur, with for­eign tour oper­a­tors and In­dian sellers pour­ing in large num­bers from In­dia and the world for the in­au­gu­ral of the GITB. That buzz and tremen­dous re­sponse for GITB, which had held me cap­ti­vated then, en­cor­ing year af­ter year, res­onat­ing the phe­nom­e­nal growth of the tourism in­dus­try, con­tin­ues this year too.

For­eign tourist in­flow in In­dia last year grew by 15.6 per cent and re­ceipts grew by 20.2 per cent. Our tar­gets are very high, and we want to dou­ble the tourist in­flow and re­ceipts in three years. KJ Alphons Min­is­ter of State (In­de­pen­dent Charge) for Tourism

Con­cep­tu­al­ized un­der the lead­er­ship of Chief Min­is­ter of Ra­jasthan Va­sund­hara Raje or­ga­nized by the Depart­ment of Tourism, Gov­ern­ment of Ra­jasthan, Min­istry of Tourism, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia and Fed­er­a­tion of In­dian Cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try (FICCI), GITB came into ex­is­tence in 2008. The for­eign tourist ar­rival (FTAs) stood at 5 mil­lion in 2007, and GITB was es­tab­lished as the need was felt to strongly and ur­gently pro­mote in­bound tourism and to­day is a plat­form not only for big play­ers in the tourism sec­tor but for the smaller hote­liers and tour oper­a­tors as well. The event, over the years, has gained sup­port of lead­ing na­tional and re­gional as­so­ci­a­tions.

Repli­cat­ing suc­cess and grow­ing from strength to strength each year, GITB has proved that In­dia's tourism sec­tor has bucked global eco­nomic head­winds to re­main on a steady growth tra­jec­tory for over a decade. Af­ter the his­toric jump to the 40th po­si­tion in the WEF (World Eco­nomic Fo­rum) Travel and Tourism Com­pet­i­tive­ness In­dex 2017, In­dia crossed the 10 mil­lion-mark in FTAs for the first time in 2017. Lat­est re­ports by the World Travel & Tourism Coun­cil rank In­dia's Travel & Tourism sec­tor 7th in the world in terms of its to­tal con­tri­bu­tion to the coun­try's GDP, gen­er­at­ing USD 234.0 bil­lion and 41.6 mil­lion jobs in 2017.

Says, Min­is­ter of State (In­de­pen­dent Charge) for Tourism, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia, KJ Alphons, 'For­eign tourist in­flow in In­dia last year grew by 15.6 per cent and re­ceipts grew by 20.2 per cent. Our tar­gets are very high, and we want to dou­ble the tourist in­flow and re­ceipts in three years.' It is pos­si­ble to achieve the tar­get as In­dia has a lot of po­ten­tial and a 5,000-year-old his­tory, which no other coun­try in the world has, he added.

Over the past two decades, tourism has emerged as one of the sun­rise sec­tors of our econ­omy, demon­strat­ing the po­ten­tial to be a strong so­cio-eco­nomic en­abler, fos­ter­ing mod­els for sus­tain­able, in­clu­sive growth. As per WTTC 2018 (World Travel & Tourism Coun­cil) re­port, travel and tourism con­trib­uted 9.4 per cent to the coun­try's GDP and ac­counted for 8.0 per cent of the to­tal jobs in 2017. Fur­ther, Travel & Tourism in­vest­ment in 2017 stood at USD41.6 bil­lion, 6.3 per cent of to­tal in­vest­ments. It is pro­jected to rise by 6.7 per cent in 2018 and rise by 6.7 per cent pa over

the next ten years to USD85.2 bil­lion in 2028, 6.1 per cent of to­tal.

The tourism sec­tor has enor­mous po­ten­tial to lead the so­cio-eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion of 'New In­dia'. Pri­mar­ily driven by re­mark­able nat­u­ral beauty, rich cul­tural her­itage and unique tra­di­tional val­ues, the sec­tor has wit­nessed ex­po­nen­tial growth in niche sub-sec­tors such as MICE (meet­ings, in­cen­tives, con­fer­ences and ex­hi­bi­tions), med­i­cal and well­ness, ad­ven­ture, sports, amongst oth­ers. In­dia's pricecom­pet­i­tive of­fer­ings, sim­pli­fied evisa and im­mi­gra­tion pro­ce­dures and in­creas­ing dis­pos­able in­come will fur­ther con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly to­wards boost­ing in­bound tourism in In­dia.

The Gov­ern­ment of In­dia re­al­izes the po­ten­tial of tourism in­dus­try, which is ev­i­dent from the fact that the Min­istry of Tourism has un­der­taken a slew of ini­tia­tives such as ex­tend­ing e-tourist visas to 163 coun­tries, re­leas­ing M-Visas, launch of mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tives like In­cred­i­ble In­dia 2.0, Swachh Pary­atan Mo­bile app, 24*7 Mul­tilin­gual Tourist Helpline among oth­ers that have fu­elled im­pres­sive tourism growth.

Al­lud­ing to the ef­fec­tive mar­ket­ing strate­gies of the Gov­ern­ment of Ra­jasthan, Raje says, '“Jaane Kya Dikh Jaaye”, Ra­jasthan's cam­paign to pro­mote tourism in the state, con­cep­tu­al­ized four years ago, be­came an in­stant hit with the au­di­ence and en­joyed a re­call value like never be­fore. The idea was to re­vamp the cam­paign af­ter ev­ery two years but then it grabbed the imag­i­na­tion of peo­ple within the coun­try and out­side.'

Re­it­er­at­ing Raje's stance, Su­bodh Agar­wal, Ad­di­tional Chief Sec­re­tary – Tourism, Art & Cul­ture; For­est & En­vi­ron­ment, Gov­ern­ment of Ra­jasthan, adds, 'Our dig­i­tal pres­ence and the use of so­cial me­dia plat­form have been phe­nom­e­nal. We have the high­est num­ber of fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram com­pared to other states and we have out­paced oth­ers on Face­book and Twit­ter in terms of growth. As a re­sult of the in­no­va­tion and sus­tained me­dia cam­paign Ra­jasthan has recorded a healthy growth of 17.31 per cent in the tourist ar­rival in 2016. Same trend con­tin­ued in 2017 with 10.5 per cent growth and the fore­cast for the first three months is sim­i­lar.'

From an eco­nomic point of view, In­dian tourism sec­tor is a sig­nif­i­cant source of for­eign ex­change and an im­por­tant source of em­ploy­ment, es­pe­cially as it helps local and host com­mu­ni­ties. In­dia's di­verse prod­uct of­fer­ings at­tracted nearly 10.17 mil­lion for­eign tourists in 2017 against 8.80 mil­lion in 2016, a growth of 15.6 per cent. Travel and tourism in­vest­ment in 2017 stood at USD41.6 bil­lion, 6.3 per cent of to­tal in­vest­ment. It is pro­jected to rise by 6.7 per cent in 2018, and by 6.7 per cent pa over the next 10 years to USD85.2 bil­lion in 2028, 6.1 per cent of to­tal.

Rashmi Verma, Sec­re­tary – Tourism, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia, un­der­lines, 'For the first time, we crossed the dou­ble dig­its and re­ceived about 10.2 mil­lion for­eign tourists in our coun­try. The prime min­is­ter has de­clared 2019 as the tourism co­op­er­a­tion year for the ASEAN (As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions) coun­tries. The lib­er­al­iza­tion of the visa pol­icy, in­tro­duc­tion of e-visa for about 163 coun­tries has been a game changer. This has fa­cil­i­tates many tourists to

Jaane Kya Dikh Jaaye', Ra­jasthan's cam­paign to pro­mote tourism in the state, con­cep­tu­al­ized four years ago, be­came an in­stant hit with the au­di­ence and en­joyed a re­call value like never be­fore. The idea was to re­vamp the cam­paign af­ter ev­ery two years but then it grabbed the imag­i­na­tion of peo­ple within the coun­try and out­side. Va­sund­hara Raje Chief Min­is­ter of Ra­jasthan For the first time, we crossed the dou­ble dig­its and re­ceived about 10.2 mil­lion for­eign tourists in our coun­try. The prime min­is­ter has de­clared 2019 as the tourism co­op­er­a­tion year for the ASEAN (As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions) coun­tries. The lib­er­al­iza­tion of the visa pol­icy, in­tro­duc­tion of e-visa for about 163 coun­tries has been a game changer. This has fa­cil­i­tated many tourists to eas­ily ob­tain visas for a visit to In­dia. Rashmi Verma Sec­re­tary – Tourism, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia

eas­ily ob­tain visas for a visit to In­dia.’ Rand­hir Vikram Singh, Co-Chair­man, FICCI Ra­jasthan State Coun­cil, feels, 'The sapling of GITB planted by Va­sund­hara Raje 10 years back has grown into one of the largest in­bound tourism plat­forms and is poised to grow big­ger and bet­ter with its con­ti­nu­ity be­ing ex­tended to 2024 through the ex­change of a GITB MoU.'

Says Deepak Deva, Co-Chair­man, FICCI Tourism Com­mit­tee and Manag­ing Di­rec­tor, SITA, Travel Cor­po­ra­tion (I) Ltd & Dis­tant Fron­tiers, we have hosted 2,500 buy­ers and more from around the world over th­ese 10 edi­tions. This gives In­cred­i­ble In­dia and Ra­jasthan tourism, I think, great ex­po­sure. GITB, if I may say so, is truly a na­tional show hosted in the city that I grew up in, Jaipur, and I am very proud of that.'

Hav­ing been as­so­ci­ated with GITB for years, Sud­hir Sobti, Chief Man­ager – PR & Pub­lic­ity, Tourism, Events & Film Shoot­ing Fa­cil­i­ta­tion, Delhi Tourism & Trans­porta­tion Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd., opines, 'GITB is where you can show­case and rep­re­sent your ini­tia­tives to the for­eign buy­ers who come in large num­bers. Delhi is a place where you have 5000-year-old his­tory ex­ist­ing and at the same time you have New Delhi, which is keep­ing pace with the world as a de­vel­oped city.'

Re­flect­ing on the jour­ney of GITB, Ra­jan Se­h­gal, Mem­ber, FICCI Tourism Com­mit­tee, states, 'As far as the tourism in­dus­try is con­cerned, FICCI is do­ing a fan­tas­tic job and GITB is one of the best in­bound shows not only of In­dia but one of the best in Asia.' He sug­gested that there was a need to spread good and pos­i­tive news about In­dia and there should be one win­dow clear­ance for film­ing in In­dia.

Vis­it­ing In­dia for the first time, Katarzyna Otwinowska, Mar­ket­ing & PR Man­ager, Olimp Air Bi­uro Po­dróży, shares her ex­pe­ri­ence at the travel mart, 'I want to learn more about In­dia, talk to my clients and pre­pare pro­grammes with my part­ners. I want to ex­plore op­por­tu­ni­ties in busi­ness tourism which can be com­bined with leisure tourism. I want to learn about pos­si­bil­i­ties as In­dia is dif­fer­ent from other coun­tries.'

A steady par­tic­i­pant at GITB, Chetan Bansal, Chief Op­er­a­tions Of­fi­cer, Arya Ni­was, says, 'We have three-star cat­e­gory af­ford­able her­itage ho­tels and have been in this busi­ness for 30 years. This is our fifth GITB and the main essence of the show is the fo­cused ap­proach. For­eign oper­a­tors come look­ing for new op­tions and we get a win­dow to in­ter­act with them through struc­tured meet­ings to un­der­stand their re­quire­ments.'

* YoY: Year over Year; FEEs: For­eign Ex­change Earn­ings

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