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IATO Appeals to Prime Minister for help with India Tourism

INDIA image courtesy of D Mz from Pixabay e1651009072610

Mr. Rajiv Mehra, President of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), has appealed to the Honorable Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, in a letter sent to him yesterday to help the tourism industry for revival of inbound tourism to India.

In his letter written to the Hon. Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Mehra, President of IATO, mentioned that with the restoration of the Tourist Visa/e-Tourist Visa and resumption of scheduled international flight operations after a gap of over 2 years, “we are trying our level best to revive inbound tourism to India but the situation does not seem to be very favorable as there is no promotional and marketing activities taking place in overseas markets by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

“Promotion and marketing of Indian tourism is very important at this stage as we have to start from scratch. In comparison, all other countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Dubai are aggressively marketing tourism to revive tourism to their countries and are attracting foreign tourists by luring them with attractive packages.”

Mr. Mehra has specifically mentioned that for revival of inbound tourism to India, “we need to tell to the world that India is safe to travel [to] and ready to welcome the foreign tourists. Also we need to highlight that India is the only country where [the] highest number of citizens are double vaccinated. We need to project this at every platform and give a wide publicity.”

Suggestions made by IATO President: 

•         Ministry of Tourism should participate in all major international travel marts/fairs along with the industry stakeholders as was being done earlier, i.e., prior to 2020.

•         Physical B2B meetings during structured road shows to be organized by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, in coordination with India tourism offices and Indian embassies/high commissions/consulates where foreign tour operators and members of IATO are to be invited. 

•         Incredible India events, evening cultural programs, food festivals, handicraft exhibitions, etc., are to be organized regularly where foreign tour operators and foreign nationals are to be invited at all source and emerging foreign markets.

•         Fam trips of foreign tour operators, travel writers, bloggers are to be organized by the Ministry of Tourism which have been discontinued due to COVID.

•         Electronic and print media campaign for promotion of tourism in all source and new markets should be re-started by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

•         Last but not the least, there are now only 7 India tourism offices overseas and remaining offices have been closed. Recently, 20 tourism officers have been appointed in various Indian embassies/high commissions/consulates abroad who would look after tourism promotions in their respective countries. However, it is suggested an official of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, should be deputed in all such embassies who will work under the tourism officers under the overall authority of an ambassador/high commissioner concerned. This will result in regular promotion and marketing of Indian tourism in overseas markets.

•         Funds for the tourism promotions should be allocated to the Ministry of Tourism and overseas embassies to cover such marketing and promotional activities on a regular basis.

Mr. Rajiv Mehra is hopeful that aggressive promotions and marketing shall help the tourism industry to bring more foreign tourists and help re-create millions of jobs. This will also help bring in huge foreign investment for the country.

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