With the budget round the corner, the tourism industry is waiting for a higher allocation to help boost marketing efforts to attract tourists and business travellers alike. Visa on arrival by itself cannot grow the tourism sector beyond a point. Preconceived notions like deficiency in safety, security, hygiene, cleanliness and lack of infrastructure must be eliminated through persuasive marketing campaigns. Private players and state governments have spent huge amounts to build the right infrastructure for large MICE events, they now need the support of the central government. Tourism is based on individual perceptions and plays a strong role in determining the choice of destination. India needs to be marketed in new countries in their own languages for niche products like MICE, Wellness, Weddings and more. Planning of budgets is important for companies wanting to hold their events in India. To encourage inbound MICE tourism, we should have accredited agents who can upload exact information about each aspect of a MICE event. This needs to be transparent and business like, without any hidden numbers. It’s the right time for India to cash in on this niche business. We even have a new team at India Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB) with plans to turn this sector around. We spoke to Sanjeev C. Gauns Dessai, Director, Department of Tourism Government of Goa, about their improving tourist situation in the start of 2016 and were pleasantly surprised to find him very positive about MICE helping make Goa a 365-day destination. Farooq Shah, Secretary Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir is as gung ho about the situation in Kashmir, the infrastructure for conferences and how this sector can help grow tourism to J&K. Many international destinations covered, like Ras Al Khaimah, Prague, Switzerland, among others.
editor-in-Chief Deepa Sethi