Showcase tourism success stories
Dipak Deva, CEO, Destination Management India & South Asia, Kuoni Destination Management; Vice Chairman, WTTCII; and Co- Chair FICCI Tourism Committee shares his opinion on measures to ensure futuristic growth strategies while highlighting certain grim si
VIVEK SETHI The
newly elected Vice Chairman of WTTC-India Initiative, Dipak Deva shares his opinion on making tourism a national priority in India, while fixing various weak points to leverage the true potential of tourism in India. Here are the selected excerpts:-
Tourism as Pro-Poor
Tourism sector is propoor with rich employment creation potential. Today, the entire world including the leading economies of the world looks at the potential of tourism to propel economic engines of growth. It’s like looking at the glass half empty, if tourism is still looked at as a mere elitist activity.
The multiplier effect of tourism is way higher than any other industry. There are several success stories like the Shahpur Bagh in Rajasthan, wherein entire eco-system in the surrounding area had benefited due to tourism through the various forward and backward socioeconomic linkages. It’s our responsibility to highlight such success stories at international and national platforms to highlight the true potential of tourism. Such success stories will also be able to recognise the role tourism can play to conserve natural resources and also promote ones own cultural heritage.
Tourism as national priority
India never had tourism as its priority. Fortunately, things are changing, wherein Ministry of Tourism plays a pro-active role. In fact, even the Planning Commission had recognised the importance of tourism in its 12th Five-YearPlan Period. But, we need to move fast. In fact, study should be commissioned to study the emerging scenario in various strategic emerging markets, and other conventional markets.
Today, changes are happening really fast. The consumer today is deciding very late on vacation plans. Social media has become a force to reckon with and digital platforms need to be redeemed. Moving forward, through scientific evidence, we should plan for at least ten years ahead in terms of identifying and completing various tourism development projects. There should be adequate thrust on taking the public-private partnership route as our strategy.
We should take overseas marketing very seriously. There is exigent need to deploy professional PR managers in strategic source markets that India wishes to tap. Further, our embassies in foreign countries should be made adept to extend most hospitable treatment to all visa applicants backed by state-of-the-art technology.
Lately, our Embassy in Kyiv wrote to the tour operators, “Due to technical reasons, there will be some delay in issuing tourist visa for India. Tour operators are advised to postpone accepting applications from visa seekers for some time. The situation is likely to improve in two-week time. This advisory may be followed till further notice from the Embassy of India.”
Its sends a very bad message to foreign tour operators, if merely, due to operational issues, visas couldn’t be processed. Once the confidence of foreign tour operator is lost, the destination suffers.
India should also open new offices in strategic markets, where we have no presence. There should also be standardised promotional collaterals made available with all our overseas tourism offices and embassies.
Growing the pie
All of us have the responsibility to give back to the industry at some point in time by sharing wealth of knowledge and experience gathered over a long period. One should strive forward in a non-political and proactive manner to make a difference so that the tourism pie increases. In FICCI, we have done a very decent job. GITB is an international event and GDTB a premium event for the domestic industry, which all national and international stakeholders find beneficial. Further, we have lined up a lot of action that includes the recently concluded conclave on investments in Tourism Infrastructure named Conclave on Investment in Tourism Infrastructure CITI, which will be followed by an event named ‘shoot at site’ to facilitate tourism through films.
On the WTTC India Initiative front, I believe it’s an excellent group of people, who are keen to make a difference and take tourism to new heights, where we continuously strive to bring a change in the right direction. We had organised Southern Retreat, which was wellattended by policymakers, hoteliers, tour operators and other stakeholders in the tourism sector. In fact, K Chiranjeevi, Minister of Tourism with independent charge had already announced the setting up of the Southern Zonal Tourism Council ( SZTC) comprising the states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry. It will help facilitate development of tourism and tourism products of Southern India in a holistic and comprehensive manner.
CEO, Destination Management India & South Asia, Kuoni Destination Management