India tourism: upbeat and optimistic

INDIA (eTN) – India is upbeat and optimistic on the tourism front, with several new steps lined up, including events and funding in budgets to see that arrivals shoot up.

Senior officials and industry players said at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) India Ministry of Tourism update meeting on May 4 that areas such as coastal tourism hold good prospects, but some agents pointed out that what was crucial was the delivery at the final level, otherwise things may fall flat.

Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi and joint secretary Suman Billa said that the e-visa for 150 countries was a clear game changer, and the scheme was being further fine-tuned to include other sectors of activity like the medical and MICE industries.

In addition, plans for seamless travel by road, with one point for tax payment, should see light of the day soon.

Zutshi revealed that a budget had been passed and that marketing both at the international and domestic levels was being intensified.

Some operators felt that posts of officials in all the tourist offices should be filled, and the embassies should be involved in tourism promotion.

There are plans to have a “Visit India” year finalized soon. Several shows with ITB, World Travel Market (WTM), DRV and other bodies are on the anvil, which will increase the awareness of the country.

The need to handle complaints in an effective manner was also highlighted by several agents.

It is the total experience that is important, even at Taj, which should be better maintained by way of battery-operated cars.

There was also a demand for more efforts to enhance the facility of a one-entry ticket for monuments.

At the Human Resource Development (HRD) skill development front, two institutes will come up soon at Noida and Tirupati.

This was the fourth such meeting organized by PATA and the Ministry of Tourism (MOT), and this will be a regular feature for feedback and ideas.