India’s Ministry of Tourism has unveiled a raft of new initiatives as Official Premier Partner at leading international travel sector trade show- World Travel Market London 2016.
State governments, union territory administrations and tourism stakeholders gathered at the event staged between November 7 and 9 at London Excel Arena.
Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent charge) for Tourism and Culture launched the 2016 event along with Simon Press, Executive Director, WTM London and Shri Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism.
Shri Vinod Zutshi Secretary for Tourism briefed the media about various strategies to promote tourism with particular reference to European market. Government focus areas include infrastructure development, and the promotion of niche markets such as medical, golf, cruise and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events and Exhibitions).
While informing about the ease of travel to India, he emphasised the importance of the EVisa and its positive results on increased number of tourist arrivals. He added that tourists can now receive information and help 24 hours a day by dialling a toll free number while in India.
Close to 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, joined to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM London.
The launch of World Travel Market London 2016 was followed by the inauguration of the Incredible India Pavilion, which represents the theme of India-The Land of Eternal Heritage. The pavilion saw classical dance performances followed by yoga demonstrations. The Minister also launched a website for a new Incredible India Global Tourism Mart in New Delhi next February.
Dr Mahesh Sharma highlighted the sheer variety of experiences, including UNESCO heritage sites, luxury travel, ecotourism, medical tourism, religious travel, undiscovered regions such as north-east India and wildlife.
He added that in the last 18 months, India’s government has invested more than U$400 million in developing tourism infrastructure around the country. He said the government was expanding its e-Visa scheme to make it easier for overseas visitors to travel to India, and is tackling issues of safety and cleanliness.
Joining the press conference was Harry Potter movie actor and the star of Real Marigold Hotel TV series, filmed in India, Miriam Margolyes. She told delegates that India is a wonderful country, not only because of its beauty, variety and richness of culture but the people who make it so special, the people are warm, funny, joyous, welcoming and very, very intelligent particularly the women; they are extraordinary.
The Press Conference was followed by a session on Responsible Tourism which was opened by Shri Vinod Zutsh who laid out how responsible tourism is being embedded in India’s official tourism policies. He said that India must study the carrying capacity of destinations and ensure there is not too much tourism for a destination to bear.