India Tourism unveiled its 'Find the Incredible You' campaign at one of the world's largest travel exhibitions in London to target internal as well as external experiences as the focus for travellers to India.
The India Pavilion at the World Travel Market (WTM) opened on Monday with over 30 co-exhibitors and partners, including state governments, tour operators, hoteliers, wellness centres and other stakeholders, to showcase India's culture and heritage with an emphasis on "niche tourism" products such as cuisine, wellness, yoga, wildlife and luxury.
"India is a 365-day tourist destination and the government of India has taken a host of proactive measures to promote tourism both the tangible heritage as well as intangible and rare experiences the country has to offer, said Yogendra Tripathi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism.
He highlighted that the E-Visa facility is now available to the nationals of 169 countries, valid for entry through 28 designated airports and five designated seaports and has contributed to an increase in foreign tourist arrivals to the country.
India received around 10.56 million foreign tourists in 2018, registering a growth of 5.2 per cent over 2017. During the period January-August 2019, India received 6.89 million foreign tourists as compared to 6.7 million January-August 2018, registering a growth of 2.1 per cent.
"One of the biggest boosts for the tourism sector is the recent reduction in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates for hotels. This will make India more competitive as it will bring down the cost of the travel packages considerably," said Tripathi.
He welcomed India's rise in the ranks of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Travel and Tourism Competitive Index 2019, from 40th to 34th position. India registered the greatest improvement over 2017 among the top 25 per cent of all countries ranked in the WEF report.
With travel to India made even easier and Air India now flying direct to Amritsar from Stansted Airport, religious tourists celebrating the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji can make their journey to the Golden Temple with ease, said Ruchi Ghanashyam, the Indian High Commissioner to the UK.
The Ministry of Tourism said it is committed to identifying, diversifying, developing and promoting nascent and upcoming niche tourism products, which has resulted in the development of unique products such as rural, adventure, eco, wellness, golf, medical and cruise tourism.
It has also launched a new Incredible India website and a mobile app to pitch India as a holistic destination, revolving around experiences such as spirituality and adventure.
A certification course on tourism facilitation is being offered as an online learning management system on a pan-India basis to enable the youth living in remotest part of the country to skill themselves and facilitate tourists visiting their regions. The online learning programme is aimed at job creation and providing foreign tourists with local facilitators at a reasonable cost.
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