“A stiff target is a motivator for all to work together and see the best we can produce”

While many of the Indian states have outdone others in upholding their well-planned marketing strategies, India’s Ministry of Tourism, as the chief centre wants to leverage everything out of one package. Be it revamping Incredible India website, rolling out campaigns in a rebooted avatar, inviting the bloggers to experience India’s incredibility or developing the thematic circuits under Swadesh Darshan Scheme; these initiatives have been heavily tasked with working their magic in enhancing the tourism. Realising these measures can further bring a multiplier effect to the promotion of brand India, the Secretary Tourism, Government of India, Yogendra Tripathi, in his first media interview after taking over charge, suggests how the proper dissemination of information could potentially help initiate the next stage of a strategic turnaround for the brand Incredible India

The ministry has selected eight bloggers, mostly women to promote niche destinations in 2019. What is the basic agenda?

This comes in line with ensuring a better outreach for the brand Incredible India. Although we do our promotions all-round the year, the actual promotions are derived from the people who have personally experienced it. We are looking at increasing the reach further and hope that we will also be able to promote newer destinations in an independent light as according to us, this holds a completely different value. The bloggers we have selected are some of the known women international travellers and bloggers who have been to India before and were comfortable going around places. One of the chief agendas behind this was to promote India as a secure destination for the women travellers and another being the promotions of niche and newer destinations in India. 

We are not opening this item with a pure marketing agenda but have done this to ensure that there is independent feedback of different parts of the country. The process of selecting the places covered under this campaign is a consultative procedure altogether and it would also depend upon the interest of the person. Sometimes these blogs/ write-ups may also not necessarily be positive all the time but that further gives us an interesting input as to what are the areas that we further need to look at.

India, being a destination with plenty of marvels to explore, is an incredible tourist destination in itself. However, we still see people from India moving out in lieu of finding a better vacation spot. How according to you, can we urge them to holiday within India?

If you look at the domestic tourists today, the numbers are mind-boggling, probably 170 crore domestic tourists in terms of visits and if you compare it with the international tourist visits, the figure is 26 million. The domestic tourism has already taken off substantially and the challenge for us is not the numbers but the surety of providing the basic amenities to ensure that the overall experience is reasonable for the tourists coming from other parts of the states. Working in line with improvising the experiences and the basic infrastructure at the major tourist attractions, the Ministry of Tourism has rolled out PRASAD or Swadesh Darshan Schemes that are getting implemented on-ground. The other infrastructure facilities are also significantly improving which further contributes to this. The economic growth connected with basic infrastructure development along with the improvement of the overall tourist experience is an ideal combination of nothing but our focused attention to ensure that the tourist do visit places in India with much confidence.

A major challenge for us to attract more foreign visits is because of the lack of MICE facilities and we, as a huge nation can come up with much better possibilities for MICE. Therefore, making our MICE tourism aspects economically more viable and strong in various aspects would eventually help India become more competitive in order retain the Indian travellers going out in search of better MICE facilities and attract more international business visitors to India.

Apart from the key schemes like PRASAD and Swadesh Darshan, what would be the key promotional agendas this year?

Promotion being a major activity of the ministry basically focuses on overseas promotions that are mostly theme-based and focused towards particular segments. Our promotions within the country are limited to newer areas and the zones which are completely unexplored, for instance, the Northeast region and therefore, the domestic tourism promotions would be a part of continued activity. Also, we are going to keep improving the experience on our website and keep interacting everywhere to see that we are able to attract more traffic and would like to focus on welcoming the quality tourists rather than chasing the numbers. Keeping in line with that, our focus would also include diverting them to lesser explored areas of India. We are additionally in process of adding various other international languages on the website that would help us in further increasing the traffic and making the tourist’s pre and post trips experience smoother.

Considering that you have established an understanding of the current scenario in the tourism industry, how achievable is the Mission 2020 according to you?

We all need to keep very stiff objectives that eventually help us in ensuring that we are active and need to work harder towards achieving the numbers. A stiff target is a motivator for all to work together and see the best we can produce.

Taking the charge of augmenting tourism in India, what would be your personal input on how we can uplift this burgeoning sector? The Incredible India brand is already having a stature and if you take a closer look at the last four to five years, our country has emerged as the fastest growing economy among the other large economies as a country which has been very active on almost all the reforms processes including the fast development of infrastructure in the country. Given that the involved authorities here have a transparent functioning process and India is already achieving its place on all international mediums, it is making our job easier to promote the brand Incredible India. It is no longer incredible just because of its heritage sites or adventure spots but because of the way it has grown, moved on the transformational front and enhanced the overall infrastructure facilities. I believe that it is not even about promotion anymore, it is the way of how we are disseminating the information about what the country has to offer.

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