Above: Shri Vinod Zutshi, Secretary Ministry of Tourism headed the Indian delegation at World Travel Market in London
This year’s World Travel Market was a three-day event instead of the old way with four days; I think it is a vast improvement as all of the people concerned are busy people with jobs and commitments and the fewer days but longer hours makes for progress. I attended all three days and found it very productive. The improved way that a press member can connect with the thousands of exhibitors through the WTM website made it so easy, but one has to be diligent and do that preparation and then one is rewarded by positive responses.
I worked solidly meeting representatives from India, Sri Lanka, Canada, Mexico, Greece, many of them from Greece, Hungary, Slovenia, Scotland and Belgium. As well as individual meetings I attended the press conference for India with the Minister Dr Mahesh Sharma who opened the proceedings and the Greek press conference with their tourism minister. Award ceremonies play an important role as well. Responsible Tourism continues to encourage people globally to apply to be awarded accolades for responsible tourism which is of benefit to us all and in their individual countries.
India has made a good progressive step forward with her attitude to improve her general tourism experience and there were all sorts of initiatives announced by the Secretary for Tourism for Government of India Mr Vinod Zutshi. Dr Mahesh Sharma the Minister for Tourism also spoke and urged people to visit India and they were followed by the bubbly Miriam Margolis who loves India and had appeared in the BBC documentary The Real Exotic Marigold Hotel earlier this year on BBC2 which was widely watched. I met with the Secretary for Tourism and other officials.
Heavy emphasis was also placed on the rise of Medical Tourism to India; this is extremely important as new Indian private hospitals offer state of the art medicine at vastly reduced costs to that of private medicine in the UK. We had reason to visit one such hospital earlier this year and were deeply impressed by the dedication, expertise and efficiency of the whole medical team at Lakeshore Hospital in Cochin in Kerala. As the NHS continues to creak even more noisily India provides a good alternative for surgery.
India has other forms of medicine with Ayurveda, but in terms of conventional concepts of European medicine and surgery the various states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka Kerala and Gujarat are all concentrating on providing good medical facilities in their state capitals or major cities.
I was really encouraged by the whole ethos now. It is only by welcoming tourist/travellers with efficient means of obtaining visas, making travel faster, simpler and safer, providing clean and safe public washrooms, general safety and determination to be good custodians of India’s awesome heritage that people will decide to visit this vast enticing country. Yes, India still has many challenges, but when the charms predominate then people will come in their thousands to sample what truly is Incredible India!
To view Aline’s photo archive from World Travel Market London 2016 please click on the link below https://goo.gl/photos/LG8sT8xJhF68XN7m7
Tourists can now receive information and help 24 hours a day by dialling a toll free number while in India.You can reach the Incredible India tourist helpline at: (+91) 1800-11-1363.