Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ministry of Tourism

Major initiatives and achivements in the year 2009

Year End Review

1. Statistics of Growth in the current year:

The foreign tourist arrivals (FTA) to India up to the month of November 2009 decreased by 6.3% over the arrivals for the same period in 2008. The cumulative arrival figures for the period January to November 2009 reached 4.54 million. The downward growth is due to global economic slowdown, terrorist activities, H1N1 influenza pandemic, etc. The important source countries were US, UK, Canada, France, Germany and Japan.

The number of domestic tourist visits increased from 527 million in 2007 to 563 million in 2008.

The Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE) from the tourism sector were Rs. 47918.00 crores during the period January-November 2009, an increase of 5.0% over the corresponding period in 2008.

2. Infrastructure Development:

Infrastructure development holds the key to India’s sustained growth in the tourism sector. Therefore, the Ministry of Tourism has been making efforts to develop quality tourism infrastructure at tourist destinations and circuits. The Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned 94 projects for an amount of Rs.394.85 crores for infrastructure augmentation including rural tourism projects in the year 2009-10 (up to November 09).

The Ministry has launched a scheme for development of nationally and internationally important destinations and circuits through Mega Projects. To date 29 mega projects have already been identified and of these 21 projects have been sanctioned. In the current year, the Ministry has sanctioned mega projects in Madhya Pradesh at Chitrakooot, as Spiritual and Wellness Destination for an amount of Rs.2401.98 lakhs. The mega projects are a judicious mix of culture, heritage, spiritual and ecotourism in order to give tourists a holistic perspective.

Ministry of Tourism is also taking initiatives with other Central Govt. Ministries, such as Railways, Civil Aviation, Road Transport & Highways, Food Processing and Urban Development and also the concerned State Governments to achieve convergence and synergy with their programmes so that the impact of investment on these destinations is maximized.

Other initiatives:

In the workshop on World Class Tourism Infrastructure organized in the Ministry of Tourism on August 19, 2009 it was decided that the Ministry will meet the expenditure on the architect’s fee upto 2% of the project cost which could be included in the cost estimates.

Ministry of Tourism has issued the guidelines for facilitating construction of heliport as a component of destination development project in hilly / remote areas.

The Ministry of Tourism has decided to consider proposals for grant of financial assistance upto Rs.5.00 crore for construction of one convention centre at any well-connected and accessible tourist destination in each State/UT for promotion of MICE Tourism.

The Caravan tourism policy announced by the Ministry of Tourism is aimed to promote and facilitate and incentivise development of

i. Caravan Parks in the public sector, private sector and PPP mode

ii. Caravans in the public sector, private sector and PPP mode

Caravan Tourism can effectively meet the growing demand of accommodation while ensuring adherence to quality, standards and safety norms.

To take up the various issues related to development and promotion of tourism in the country, Regional Conferences for North and Central States and Eastern and North Eastern States have already been held. The conference for South and Western Region is likely to be held shortly.

3. Sustainable Tourism:

The true potential of tourism lies in adopting responsible and sustainable practices on both the demand and supply sides of the tourism chain, enabling an effective response to climate change. This is closely interlinked with inclusive growth through sustainable community participation.

This ‘sustainable’ tourism route has been adopted by the Ministry of Tourism in the innovative Rural Tourism Project, by strengthening the disadvantaged but skilled rural artisan communities through support to capacity building and vernacular infrastructure, while laying emphasis on the role of women. 29 sites of the projects out of 36 sites are completed and being marketed. A project website was also upgraded showcasing these sites. 15 rural tourism sites have been selected as rural eco- holiday sites for “Visit India 2009.”

4. Overseas Marketing and Promotion:

The Ministry has consistently been working on a two-pronged strategy for marketing of Incredible India brand. The strategy includes visible branding in the outdoor media such as advertising at airports, on trams, taxis and buses and through the print, online and electronic media, as well as through participation in Travel Marts and Road Shows. For promotion of Indian Cuisine, which is an integral component of the Indian Tourism product, support has been extended to Indian Food Festivals organized in various countries. The India tourism office in New York has supported Indian Food Festivals organized in Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay in S. America.

Work orders have been issued for launch of print media campaigns in America, APAC and Europe regions. Advertising Campaigns have also been undertaken by the India tourism offices overseas in their respective regions. Promotional activities have also been stepped up in the overseas markets with added focus on emerging markets, for generating greater awareness about India as a tourist destination and increasing India’s share in international tourist arrivals and receipts.

2. There has been an increased focus on potential and emerging markets in East/ South East Asia, and East European countries. Road Shows, in collaboration with the Indian Association of Tour Operators, have been organized in Japan and South Korea to promote the Visit India 2009 Scheme. India tourism, Frankfurt supported & participated in Road Shows organized in the Slovak Republic, Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia in June 2009.

3. A series of promotional initiatives were taken to minimize the negative impact of the global economic slowdown and terrorist attack in Mumbai, which had an adverse effect on tourism in the country. Some of them are as under:

i. An Incredible India Evening was organized in Beijing in April 2009. More than 600 persons representing a cross section of the Chinese media, travel trade, members of the diplomatic corps, and prominent members of the Indian community attended the function. A five day “Incredible India” Food Festival was also arranged to coincide with the India Evening.

ii. The India tourism office in New York participated in a “Caribbean Conclave” organized in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago in June 2009.

iii. The India tourism Offices in New York, Frankfurt, Singapore, Beijing and Tokyo have participated in major travel fairs and exhibitions in South America, CIS, East European countries, East Asia and South East Asia, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Romania, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, China, S. Korea, etc.

iv. Major promotional events were organised in Moscow and St. Petersburg in September 2009.

5. (I) Visit India 2009:

The initiatives taken to minimize the negative impact of the global economic slowdown included a “Visit India 2009” scheme launched in collaboration with all stakeholders including airlines, hotels, tour operators, State Governments for incentivising travel to India, organizing Road Shows in important tourist generating markets overseas, arranging familiarisation tours to India for international travel trade and media representatives to keep them updated on safety / security conditions in the country and media campaigns in the print, electronic, online and outdoor media.

(II) Other Promotional Activities:

The Ministry of Tourism, through the India tourism office in London undertook an advertising campaign in the print and outdoor media in London to coincide with the Queens Baton Relay for the Commonwealth Games 2010, which was flagged off from the Buckingham Palace on 29th October 2009.

The campaign included advertisements on hoardings, billboards, LED Screens, bus shelters, etc. at Heathrow airport and at prominent locations in London city as well as in leading dailies including The Times London, The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Evening Standard. Outdoor advertising was also undertaken on taxis in New York, Miami, Chicago, London, Edinburgh, Milan, Rome, Tokyo, on buses / cable cars in San Francisco, Seoul, Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago, Toronto, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bahrain, Muscat, and on hoardings / billboards in Tokyo, Milan, New York, Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, Dubai, Nice Airport, Cannes, Singapore, etc.

Other promotional initiatives undertaken during the year include “Incredible India” Events organized in Russia in September, 2009 as part of the celebrations of the “Year of India in Russia” and a major India promotion event “India Calling” organized in association with the National Geographic Society at Hollywood Bowl and California Plaza in Los Angeles in September 2009.

Joint Promotions have been organized by India tourism offices overseas in collaboration with Tour Operators / Airlines and Wholesalers, in Rome, Dubai, Sharjah, West Palm Beach & Naples in Florida, Madrid & Barcelona in Spain, Brugge in Belgium, Basel, Bern & Zurich in Switzerland and Singapore.

The Ministry of Tourism organized a series of Road Shows in collaboration with the Indian Association of Tour Operators, Adventure Tour Operators Association of India and the PATA India Chapter to project India as a tourist destination, in the aftermath of the global economic slowdown.
India tourism offices overseas have participated in approximately 104 Travel Fairs and Exhibitions in important tourist generating markets the world over as well as in emerging and potential markets to showcase and promote the tourism products of the country. These include the major international Travel Fairs such as the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai, PATA Travel Mart in Hangzhou, China, ITB – Asia in Singapore Top Resa in Paris, and World Travel Market (WTM) in London.

III. Ministry continued to provide Hospitality to Journalists/ tour operators/ Travel agents/ TV teams/ Photographers etc. from overseas markets. Till now Ministry has offered hospitality to 700 guests (approx.).

IV. Efforts of the Ministry to counter the effect of global economic meltdown on tourism sector:

The Ministry of Tourism has taken several steps to counter the downward trend of inbound tourism and to promote tourism to the country. These include liberalizing the Marketing Development Assistance Scheme for service providers promoting India, organizing Road Shows in important tourist generating markets overseas, arranging familiarisation tours to India for international travel trade and media representatives to keep them updated on safety / security conditions in the country, media campaigns in the print, electronic, online and outdoor media and a “Visit India 2009” scheme, in collaboration with all stakeholders including airlines, hotels, tour operators, State Governments for incentivising travel to India. Recently Government of India has decided to introduce Visa-on-Arrival scheme for tourists from five countries viz. Singapore, Finland, New Zealand, Luxembourg and Japan on a pilot basis for a period of one year.

6. Social Awareness Campaign:

Ministry continued its efforts to reinforce its brand through Incredible India campaigns. Through, Social Awareness Campaigns attempt was made to sensitize the stakeholders and masses about the importance of tourism and protection of heritage sites. Through generic campaign in the first half of the current financial year, awareness about various destinations/ sub-tourism products was generated. In the 2nd half of the financial year, Ministry continued its efforts of creating social awareness through focused campaigns.

7. Hotel Infrastructure:

The requirement of hotel accommodation in the country is estimated at 240 thousand rooms against availability of around 90 thousand rooms. It is estimated that there will be a requirement of additional 30,000 hotel rooms in Delhi. The Ministry of Tourism is therefore actively involved in monitoring the creation of additional accommodation for the games. Following initiatives have been taken for augmentation of accommodation infrastructure:

1. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has de-linked credit for hotel projects from commercial real estate, thereby enabling hotel projects to avail credit at relaxed norms and reduced interest rates. In addition, the External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) norms have been relaxed by Ministry of Finance to solve the problem of liquidity being faced by the hotel industry due to economic slow down.

The XIX Commonwealth Games are scheduled to be held in Delhi during 3rd to 14th October 2010. It is expected that around 100 thousand persons would be visiting during the Games.

The following initiatives have been taken by the Ministry to use this opportunity and showcase India as a unique and hospitable tourism destination:

i. A Task Force constituted for this purpose monitors the additional new hotel accommodation coming up in the Delhi NCR by holding regular meetings with all concerned land owning authorities, concerned Ministries / Departments. It has been decided that flats of DDA located at Vasant Kunj and Jasola will be upgraded / furnished and operated by ITDC for the Games as alternate accommodation of three star standards. It is also proposed to utilize the services of rooms available from the licensed guest houses and Bed & Breakfast units for the Games.

India Tourism Development Corporation:

(ii). Hotel Ashok, Samrat and Janpath under the ITDC have been declared as the Official Hotels for the Games. While The Ashok & Samrat would be the Games Family Hotels, Janpath would be for Press and Media. These hotels have undergone a major renovation work to prepare them for the event.

(iii). Manpower & Volunteer Development

Providing more than 3000 volunteers, trained in hospitality sector, for the games under the “Earn While You Learn” scheme.

Training more than 3000 taxi/coach and auto rickshaw drivers with an objective of making them more tourists friendly.

Training of owners and service staff of the approved guests house in Delhi so that there is a quality improvement in the services being provided.

8. Quality Human Resource Development:

It is estimated that to cater to the growing need of the hospitality sector, over 203 thousand trained manpower would be required annually. Therefore, it has been the endeavour of the Ministry of Tourism to put in place a system of training and professional education with necessary infrastructural support, capable of generating manpower to meet the needs of the tourism and hospitality industry, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Keeping in view the acute shortage of trained manpower MOT has decided to support additional Institutes of Hotel Management (IHM) in States. New Food Crafts Institutes (FCI) are also being set up. MOT has also been providing financial assistance for modernization and capacity enhancement of IHMs and FCIs. A Scheme of Capacity Building for Service Providers is being implemented to impart hospitality training to those employed in this sector.

As a part of 100 days agenda of the Government, Ministry has taken following initiatives to provide skilled manpower in hospitality sector:

i. Skill training of youth in Hospitality sector (Hunar Se Rojgar Tak): The Institutes of Hotel Management (IHMs) have initiated a six to eight week fast track skill training programme for youth under twenty five years of age in food production and food and beverage services. About 5000 youths will be trained in the year.

ii. Skill Certification: The service providers, who are working in the hospitality sector, would undertake a five day orientation programme followed by test that would be based on practical and viva voce. Thereafter, the participants would be provided a skill certificate, which will enhance their employability in the market. About 5000 existing service providers would be certified in the year.

9. International Cooperation:

1. In the 18th Session of the General Assembly of UN WTO held from October 05th -8th 2009 in Astana, Kazakhstan, India was re-elected to the Executive Council of the United Nations World Tourism Organization for another four years term. India is a member of the Executive Council of UN WTO continuously for the last 19 years.

2. In the first Joint Working Group Meeting on Tourism between India and Indonesia in Yogyakarta, Indonesia held during 27th-28th August 2009, it was agreed to carry forward the cooperation.

3. A Joint Action Plan on Tourism Cooperation was signed between India and Singapore on 4.08.2009 in New Delhi in the presence of the visiting senior Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Education, Republic of Singapore and the Minister of Tourism Govt. of India.

4. A Joint Action Programme for the period 2009-10 for the implementation of the agreement between India and Russian Federation on Cooperation in Tourism was signed during the visit of the Russian President to India in December 2008.

10. New Initiatives:

i. Cruise Tourism:

Cruise Tourism is a relatively new but an emerging sector with a high potential for growth. With the approval of the Cruise Tourism Policy, the huge potential of this tourism product has been opened up. Together with the Port Trust Authorities and the State Governments, the Ministry is now focusing on infrastructure development as well as motivating cruise operators to use Indian ports in their itinerary.

ii. Adventure Tourism:

Adventure tourism has immense potential for growth. For experiencing the different types of adventure tourism right like rock climbing, river rafting, para gliding, mountaineering and under water diving, the Ministry has been sanctioning projects in various States.

iii. Wellness Tourism:

India, as the world knows, is a Wellness destination. The potential of wellness systems, developed through centuries of wisdom of this ancient civilization would be fully tapped. This is being done by positioning India as a centre of Ayurveda, Yoga, Siddha, Naturopathy, etc. together with the spiritual philosophy that was integral to the Indian way of life. The Ministry of Tourism has highlighted wellness in a big way through publicity and promotional activities.

11. International Recognition:

The Incredible India film shown globally in the potential tourist generating markets has won a number of prestigious international awards:-

- March 2009

- 2. Preis Das Goldene Stadttor. Int, Touristik Filmwettbewerb ITB Berlin 2009

- June 2009

- International Tourfilm festival Plock, 2009, Plock/Poland

- FIMAC- International Festival of Corporates AV Media

- July 2009

- Document.Art - The International Festival of Documentary Films, 2009, Campulung Muscel/Romania

- September 2009

Art&Tur - International Tourism Film Festival, 2009, Barcelos/ Portugal

- October 2009

- Tourfilm Karlovy Vary, 2009, Karlovy Vary/Czech Republic

- The latest being the Grand Prix Award - organized by Comite International Des Festivals Du film Touristique (CIFFT) in which the Hon’ble Minister for Tourism has received the award in Vienna on 13th November 2009.

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