‘In­cred­i­ble and amaz­ing In­dia’

As the World Travel & Tourism Coun­cil (WTTC) appoints its first fe­male head and their first CEO from Latin Amer­ica, TRAVTALK in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view dis­cusses In­dia from a global per­spec­tive and high­lights the im­por­tance of de­vel­op­ing tourism prod­ucts a

TravTalk - India - - ASSOCIATIO­NS - DE­VIKA JEET

Recog­nised as one of the most in­flu­en­tial women in Mex­ico, Glo­ria Gue­vara Manzo, Pres­i­dent & CEO, World Travel & Tourism Coun­cil (WTTC), has a pro­fes­sional ca­reer that has given her an op­por­tu­nity to work in the pri­vate sec­tor, the gov­ern­ment and the academia. Manzo be­lieves that a deep un­der­stand­ing can help bridge the gap among var­i­ous in­ter­ests.

“I had the op­por­tu­nity to work in the pri­vate sec­tor and in gov­ern­ment. I know how gov­ern­ments deal with tourism and travel and I know the ap­proach of the pri­vate sec­tor. I be­lieve, by work­ing to­gether we can find so­lu­tions to help strengthen and grow the industry,” says Manzo.

Speak­ing the lan­guage of the gov­ern­ment, pri­vate sec­tor and the academia, Manzo says. “My vi­sion is to move this or­gan­i­sa­tion for­ward and take it to the next level. One of my core aims is to con­tinue the part­ner­ship between the pri­vate sec­tor and the gov­ern­ment bod­ies. We will con­tinue to work closely with UNWTO and rep­re­sent the pri­vate sec­tor world­wide. At the same time, we will help the co­op­er­a­tion between the pri­vate sec­tor and the gov­ern­ment with ed­u­cated plans, well-tai­lored to spe­cific re­gions and des­ti­na­tions. In other words, we’ll have a more spe­cific re­gional agenda so that we can move for­ward and con­tinue sup­port­ing the dif­fer­ent needs and re­quire­ments of our industry.”

Fur­ther, ex­plain­ing the agenda of grow­ing re­gional tourism and fo­cus­ing on spe­cific ar­eas, Manzo be­lieves that it is im­por­tant to de­velop tourism prod­ucts around a re­gion - sup­ported by the nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture - so that tourism can fol­low.

Hav­ing vis­ited In­dia and dis­cussing the coun­try in par­tic­u­lar, she says, “When we look at In­dia, it is very in­ter­est­ing, the to­tal con­tri­bu­tion of travel and tourism to In­dia’s GDP was 9.6 per cent of the GDP in 2016, and is fore­cast to rise by 6.7 per cent in 2017. This growth is nearly dou­ble of the av­er­age GDP of 4 per cent, which is a huge ac­com­plish­ment.”

In 2016, the industry was 9.3 per cent of to­tal em­ploy­ment. This is ex­pected to rise by 1.8 per cent in 2017 and rise by 2 per cent per an­num till in 2027. “I be­lieve In­dia is on the right path in terms of growth. Which is won­der­ful, this means a lot more jobs. Last year, there were 40.3 mil­lion di­rect and in­di­rect jobs in tourism. This means that the industry in In­dia is the sec­ond largest em­ployer for travel and tourism glob­ally. To­day, the coun­try has large re­sources and won­der­ful peo­ple and a huge up­side to fur­ther grow tourism. I be­lieve, In­dia can be in the top few des­ti­na­tions in the world. In­dia is amaz­ing, the 'In­cred­i­ble In­dia' cam­paign speaks vol­umes with its plan­ning and ex­e­cu­tion.”

Manzo dis­cusses some of the suc­cess­fully im­ple­mented strate­gies in her home coun­try of Mex­ico as a good ex­am­ple for de­vel­op­ing economies. “There are a few things that need to be con­sid­ered for a grow­ing econ­omy, visa is an im­por­tant fac­tor but we need to look at con­nec­tiv­ity, in­fra­struc­ture and the prod­uct of­fer­ing. In Mex­ico, we re­alised that we were not very well di­ver­si­fied, we un­der­stood that we were de­pend­ing very heav­ily on one prod­uct, like the beaches. We then de­cided to pro­mote cul­ture and other at­trac­tions. Post the H1NI flu crises in Mex­ico, we started ac­cept­ing a valid US visa and saw our tourists num­ber raise by 1.8 mil­lion vis­i­tors. In­dia’s new visa of­fer­ings are a great move but it’s go­ing to take time be­fore you reap the ben­e­fits. In Mex­ico, we also in­tro­duced cer­ti­fi­ca­tions for clean­li­ness and sus­tain­abil­ity. This helped ad­dress the prob­lem of hy­gienic food and drink­ing wa­ter. I know this is a con­cern in In­dia as well.”

Manzo was ap­pointed Mex­ico’s Min­is­ter for Tourism in 2010 and this role brought her to In­dia. “In In­dia, I met a lot of smil­ing peo­ple and felt very wel­comed. In­dia is very unique and im­por­tant. In­dia is amaz­ing, of­fer­ing ev­ery­thing from cul­ture to his­tory, na­ture and even ad­ven­ture. The prod­ucts and ex­pe­ri­ences are avail­able. It just needs to be com­mu­ni­cated more. Now, it’s a mat­ter of de­vel­op­ing more in­fra­struc­ture and con­nec­tiv­ity and work­ing on prod­uct spec­i­fi­ca­tions and show­cas­ing ex­pe­ri­ences In­dia has to of­fer”.

Look­ing at the other side of the coin, In­dia’s in­creas­ing out­bound tourism is a sign that the econ­omy is grow­ing. “When you see more peo­ple trav­el­ling, it’s a sign that the dis­pos­able in­come is in­creas­ing. In­dia’s do­mes­tic travel mar­ket is also very in­ter­est­ing. There is a big op­por­tu­nity in this sec­tor, and In­dia’s num­bers are very im­pres­sive.”

WTTC has seen growth in the industry, de­spite the var­i­ous chal­lenges like ter­ror­ism and se­cu­rity. The industry con­tin­ues grow­ing and is very re­silient. “The world that we live in to­day, has many chal­lenges that can­not be iso­lated. Our industry is very re­silient, trav­ellers know that they need to pro­tect them­selves but will con­tinue to travel, to en­joy, to learn new cul­tures and visit new places. I be­lieve we can use the tech­nol­ogy avail­able to pro­vide in­creased se­cu­rity. If we share in­for­ma­tion and work to­gether, we can fa­cil­i­tate a path so that the tech­nol­ogy can be used to in­crease se­cu­rity, thus, in­creas­ing trav­ellers and as a re­sult, in­creas­ing jobs.” The on­go­ing ter­ror­ism is­sues make it even more im­por­tant for both in the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor to work to­gether.

Ad­dress­ing re­gional con­cerns and work­ing closely with var­i­ous gov­ern­ments, while mak­ing the most of tech­nol­ogy, will be key for WTTC un­der the new lead­er­ship. Cre­at­ing ini­tia­tives, work­ing with the pri­vate sec­tor, in­creas­ing con­nec­tiv­ity, in­vest­ing in a des­ti­na­tion and work­ing very closely to grow the prod­uct and de­velop the brand, are highly rec­om­mended for grow­ing economies to at­tract higher tourist num­bers. WTTC, one of the world’s largest travel industry or­gan­i­sa­tions, will con­tinue work­ing very closely with UNWTO and fur­ther the cause of tourism. “This part­ner­ship is fun­da­men­tal and very im­por­tant. How­ever, there are some coun­tries where we need to do some­thing more.” The WTTC works closely with non-UNWTO mem­bers in­clud­ing the UK and USA. “We have an agenda for spe­cific re­gions. We want to strengthen our re­gional con­nect and help coun­tries grow to­gether. Our ini­tia­tives are for the needs of tourism such as more se­cu­rity and work closely with the gov­ern­ment to cre­ate more jobs. More tourists, means more jobs,” adds Manzo.

We will con­tinue to work closely with UNWTO and rep­re­sent the pri­vate sec­tor ec­tor world­wide. At the same time, we willll help the co­op­er­a­tion between the pri­vate sec­tor and the gov­ern­ment with re­gions and des­ti­na­tions. Glo­ria Gue­vara Manzo nzo Pres­i­dent & CEO World Travel & Tourism Coun­cil (WTTC) TC) In­dia’s do­mes­tic travel mar­ket is also very in­ter­est­ing. There is a big op­por­tu­nity in this sec­tor, and In­dia’s num­bers are very im­pres­sive I be­lieve In­dia can be in the top few des­ti­na­tions in the world. In­dia is amaz­ing, the 'In­cred­i­ble In­dia' cam­paign speaks vol­umes with its plan­ning and ex­e­cu­tion

In­dia's travel and tourism sec­tor was also the fastest grow­ing amongst the G20 coun­tries, grow­ing by 8.5 per cent in 2016. A fur­ther 6.7 per cent growth is fore­cast for 2017. WTTC says In­dia's fig­ures are pre­dom­i­nantly gen­er­ated by do­mes­tic travel, which ac­counts for 88 per cent of the sec­tor's con­tri­bu­tion to GDP in 2016.

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