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

TravTalk - India - - Highlight -

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.

Di­pak Deva

CEO, Des­ti­na­tion Man­age­ment In­dia & South Asia, Kuoni Des­ti­na­tion Man­age­ment

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