should not be blindly optimistic about the outlook for India’s foreign tourist
arrivals. We must talk about weak performance in tourist arrivals from our main
source markets like Germany, Italy, France, Japan rather than increased
tourist arrivals from Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka etc.
Government’s statistical data till April end suggests an increasing trend but
tour operators have not been benefitted. The increased arrivals from
neighboring countries hardly take the services of the tour operator’s or use
our 5 Star properties. The priority is to increase more upmarket traffic from USA,
Canada, Japan, South Korea, China, Gulf and Middle East.
Consistent efforts of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India to enhance
infrastructure in the country with a holistic coverage of an entire circuit
instead of individual tourist spots. PRASAD schemes is targeted toward the
development of tourism infrastructure in and around famous religious and pilgrimage
cities. The SWADESH DARSHAN scheme aims at the development of complete circuit
on a specific theme. We understand that 56 projects covering 29
states/56 projects covering 29 States /UT’s worth Rs. 4,823.91 crores
have been sanctioned under the SWADESH DARSHAN Scheme since its launch on 1st
January 2015. 13 thematic circuits have been identified under which projects
are sanctioned.18 projects worth Rs. 488.45 crores have been sanctioned
under the PRASAD Scheme since its launch on 1st January 2015. 25 religious
cities have been identified under the scheme for development.
India Tourist Helpline was launched on 8th February 2016. The helpline provides
assistance and information to tourists in 12 major languages of the world
including Hindi & English. The helpline is available 24x7 and can be
accessed on the Toll-free Number 1800- 11-1363 or on a short code 1363.
The languages covered are Hindi, English, Arabic, French, German, Italian,
Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. At least, this
initiative has created confidence in the minds of foreign tourists about Safety
and Security part.
consistent support provided by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India to
enhance investment in tourism sector is truly commendable. At least investors
will visit India round the year and keep tourism growth continued. Integration
of all states promoting tourism into the investment policy can bring
infrastructure development all over the country. This is a very positive step.
Such initiatives show commitment to promote and develop cooperation among
various overseas countries. It aims to encourage sound economic development and
boost exchanges and cooperation in culture technology and tourism.
contemporary economic climate has varying effects on our main traffic
generating markets including BRIC countries including Russia and
South Africa. Emerging markets highly reliant on financial position like Brazil,
Mexico, Vietnam, Indonesia, Argentina, China is a good potential
market but latest political developments will not increase demand. The media is
usually the first channel for people to know about destinations but for India
media has damaged the image. We need balanced reporting of events in India.
Agra the city of Taj specially Taj Mahal will be mud covered gives wrong signal
as thousand visit India to see Taj Mahal only. We need to issue an assurance on
that going updated information that Taj will be partially visible and not
covered. Government has also started global Campaigns. This ensures visibility
of India global markets through Electronic and Print Media round the year
Earlier due to budget approval formalities going till May end.
tax status remained heavy nearly over 30% is the tax component. Hope GST is put
into operation by July end tourism is put into lower slab. At least present the
uncertainty puts our sales team overseas to give quotations. As tour operators
when they go overseas for sales/marketing purpose have to give Quotations 5/6
months in advance so they fail to give a competitive price and often lose
business. Inspite of doing their best and speeding fortunes on promotional
visits. All these do not augur well.
Ministry of Tourism has launched a ‘Welcome Card’ for distribution at
immigration counters to tourists arriving at international airports. From
15th February 2017 the Ministry has
introduced free SIM Cards with pre-loaded talk time and data to all tourists
arriving in India on the e-Tourist Visa.
e-Tourist Visa was introduced in September 2014 for 46 countries. This facility
is now called e-Visa. It is now available for nationals of 161 countries and
allows visits for business and medical treatment. The process of obtaining the
e-Tourist Visa has been simplified significantly by addressing issues like more
than one entry and longer lead period for applying for e-Visa.10, 79,696 tourists
visited India on the e-Tourist Visa in 2016.
air tickets cost has gone up and this has dampened the spirit for tourists who
like to take long haul holiday destinations. At least things are now coming up
the way we want and we hope to end the year with minimum 20% growth.