Ever since the travel restrictions got eased in 2022, the inbound travel to India got a shot in the arm too but the recovery was terribly low and was not as high as that of the domestic tourism segment that recorded a 98 per cent year-on-year growth in 2022.
Buoyed by the idea of pushing the inbound travel further in the year 2023 and in the backdrop of India’s G20 Presidency, the Ministry of Tourism officially kicked off its ‘Visit India Year 2023’ initiative on January 31, 2023.
“The traditional markets which are, of course, our most potential markets will be targeted through the Visit India 2023 initiative. These will include promotions amongst the US, Canada, Europe, UK, Middle East and other key regions. Additionally, we’ll also look at stamping the Incredible India’s presence at new destinations in Japan and Latin America,” said Arvind Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
The campaign that is on the top of 2023 promotional agendas, will be a key opportunity to showcase the Indian Tourism potential to the foreign delegates who will attend the G-20 meetings in 55 locations across the country, Singh asserted.
More than one lakh foreign delegates will visit India this year and they will be able to witness the variety including the richness and diversity of India’s culture, he said and added that each foreign delegate will be a brand ambassador of the country’s culture, heritage and tourist destinations in their home countries.
Further, a special focus on rural tourism and sustainable tourism with a spotlight on a modern, progressive India and reactivating the MICE segment to make India business-ready is also our key focus, Singh had shared earlier.
The Tourism Ministry looks content with this year’s budget allocation of INR 2400 crore and is looking to boost efforts in improving both the infrastructure and other framework conditions impacting the growth of tourism within the year.
To achieve the vision of increasing tourism, the Ministry of Tourism is working with all the relevant ministries and government agencies, partners, travel and trade industry, state governments and tourism boards, and key stakeholders which have influence and impact on tourism.
As a part of the campaign, the ‘Incredible India’ brand will continue to be leveraged to match the renewed expectations of travellers around the world. The plans include a reimagined website that will unbox soul-stirring stories across various travel experience categories, a renewed global social media outreach of Incredible India, launching the signature newsletter and harnessing the best from the partnerships and collaborations that become the voices of Incredible India.
The Incredible India branding on Delhi metro was also one of the initiatives under Visit India 2023 campaign that kickstarted last week and is aimed to be endorsed across Mumbai and Bangalore metro rails as a month long promotional activity.
The Tourism Secretary also added that the improvement in hospitality and management skills of the local populace, especially the youth who would attend to the influx of inbound tourists will also be one of the focused talk points during the 1st G2O Tourism Working Group Meeting in Gujarat scheduled from February 7 to 9, 2023.
Saturating the central government schemes at the 50 selected destinations
Where the Ministry of Tourism is putting in the best possible efforts to unlock the untapped potential of inbound tourism, on the other hand, it has also rolled up the sleeves to enhance the prospects of domestic tourism, especially in the wake of its Dekho Apna Desh, Swadesh Darshan schemes as well as after the Finance Minister’s proposal of identifying 50 destinations and their comprehensive development.
While presenting the budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman listed tourism as a priority area for the country and said the government will take it up on “challenge mode”. At least 50 travel destinations would be selected and developed as a complete package in tourism, she shared.
Updating further on the progress, Singh shared that the central government would soon start working with the states to decide on identification of these 50 destinations.
“The idea is to saturate all central government programs and schemes at these selected destinations so that there is a convergence of all central government projects. The central government would soon start working with the state governments to ensure a holistic development happens in all the select destinations,” he elaborated.
This way, he asserted, the MoT will analyse the impact these decisions will have, especially in terms of infrastructure development, facilities and imparting skills to the local people.
The same has also been one of the key highlights proposed during the budget for FY 2023-24.