Tourism is a huge driving force for a country’s economy. India has witnessed a growth of 17 percent in 2017 and is well on its way for aiming a figure of 30 million tourist in coming years. Tourism Powerhouse PATA India Initiative 2018 with the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India is one such way for defining the road to its success story.
Tourism’s impact on visitor economy, Tourism trends and opportunities, harnessing growth, Digital Marketing as today’s firepower, winning the millennial traveler, enabling growth through disruptive tourism, luxury tourism trends are issues that concern tourism industry apart from the governments across the globe. These were precisely the points of connect that brought great minds together at Tourism Powerhouse India Initiative held at New Delhi.
The India Chapter Initiative kickstarted with a bang as the two day event brainstormed the participants with experiences, ideas, initiatives, perceptions, technology and transforming beliefs. Aimed at igniting the minds of the leadership of tourism industry and fully tapping the potential of India in line with best business practices, the endeavour was to help meet and exceed expectations of international travelers. The meet provided an opportunity to network, learn and interact with knowledge leaders and industry stalwarts.
The event saw a galaxy of international speakers and opinion leaders share valuable insights and trends, encouraging tourism experts to think above and beyond the statusquo, enhance product offering, to compete with world class tourism products and services.
The theme of ‘’Decoding Tourism Today’’, resonated among the speakers as well as the participants equally. ‘Travel and Tourism is all about our experiences and about story telling,’ said Dr Mario Hardy, CEO PATA. He said ‘’there are as many challenges as opportunities for enormous growth in the sector. Technology is there to support and make our lives better.’’ Mario said, ‘’PATA is about bringing public and private together’’, and the need to work together. He informed that 60 percent of GDP is directly from tourism. Population is growing rapidly and by 2030, 80 percent will be living in cities, he said. ‘India is a powerhouse of South Asia Tourism. ‘Brand India’ needs to be developed.’’ Dr Hardy said.
According to Forbes study India is a country with good reputable index. Defining reputable, he said, it is ‘where people are willing to live, work and earn. Reputation is directly linked to what you deliver which relates to experiences of lifetime and memorable life stories,’ Hardy said. He further emphasized that what matters is how differently one thinks and makes it both manageable and measurable. India stands 35th position in the index. Have a look at what Dr Hardy has to say: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrUZQLRWxhQ
Secretary Ministry of Tourism, Rashmi Verma, who is Chairperson PATA India Chapter apprised on the growth story of India Tourism and the various initiatives being taken by the government to see that India ranks among the top countries of the world in tourism sector. She informed that the ministry is working on a 3-pronged strategy of G2G, B2B and B2C (Business to Consumers) that is bringing good results. While G2G is at the government level, in B2B, travel and road shows on and off shores are being organized as part of publicity and marketing. 2018 has been declared as the year of Adventure Tourism and 2019 as PATA India Adventure Tourism.
A number of initiatives undertaken by Ministry of Tourism have started showing positive results. Renewed ‘Incredible India’ campaign has been drawn up that is being telecasted in many countries. E Visa facilities have been provided to 166 countries, niche tourism products like medical tourism, cruise tourism are being promoted in a big way. Home ministry has done away with biometric for cruise tourists. Work of improving infrastructure at tourist sites is going on. 12 iconic sites have been selected for holistic development, community participation is being encouraged. Homestays are being promoted. India is ranked 13th in Foreign Exchange collection. Connectivity is being given high priority and will be a gamechanger. 50 airports lying unutilized have started again.
Tourism contributes 9.4 percent to India’s GDP. Around 10.2 million have come as FTA in 2017.
To provide platform to Adventure Tour stakeholders, a PATA Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart is being organized in February 2019 in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand.
A keynote address on ‘’Tourism Trends and Opportunities’’ was delivered by John Koldowski, an international tourism research expert. Others who shared their experiences and works were Oliver Martin of Twenty31 Consulting, Jose Leon of Indigo Consulting, Balaji Viswanath, Vice President DI&C American Express, Jens Oreel CEO Octotrip, Mathew Powell of Travelport, Sanjay Kumar of Indigo, Massimo Tocchetti of AIGO, Paras Loomba of Global Himalayan Expedition, Nikhil Ganju of TripAdvisor India and Nikhil Kumar of TACT.