Priyanka Saxena Ray
How has the G20 Presidency and the G20 Summit benefited India?
The G20 Presidency and Summit has elicited overwhelmingly positive responses from both participating and non-participating countries. There has been a remarkable increase in awareness about India’s role as a rapidly developing nation. Whenever we engage in discussions overseas, there is unanimous admiration for India.
How can India capitalise on the G20 platform to attract more tourists?
During the G20 India Summit, tourism has been a focal point throughout the year, with various tourism group meetings held across the country, showcasing India’s diverse tourism offerings. These events witnessed active participation from various countries, local Indian stakeholders, and the Government of India. The outcomes are promising, and we anticipate a long-term boost in inbound and MICE tourism.
In your estimation, when will Indian tourism return to its 2019 levels?
Currently, the resurgence in tourist arrivals is only 30-40% of the 2019 figures. We’ve only managed to match the metrics of 2004 in terms of arrivals and foreign exchange, according to the Ministry of Tourism’s Incredible India site and data from the Ministry of Commerce. While some predict the recovery by 2023, I view it in two scenarios. If the Government continues to support the tourism sector as it did pre-pandemic, recovery might be achieved by 2024-25. Without such backing, and if the tourism industry becomes self-reliant (Atmanirbhar), it could take 6 to 8 years to revert to 2019 numbers.
What further actions, in your view, should the Ministry of Tourism undertake to achieve the target numbers?
The MoT should initiate international marketing campaigns in all our primary and emerging markets. The absence of tourist offices has diminished India’s tourism visibility, giving other nations an edge. It’s crucial to communicate that India welcomes tourists. I’d recommend the following actions:
• Promptly commence overseas advertising.
• Participate more in international tourism exhibitions, allowing stakeholders ample time for preparation.
• Organise roadshows in primary and emerging markets without delay.
• Reintroduce the MDA scheme for all tour operators registered with MoT.
• Release new tourism policies promptly.
• Establish a tourism committee that fosters public-private partnerships, holds regular meetings to address ongoing challenges, introduces simplified business practices, and launches a new investment policy.
• Expand the e-visa facility to high-expenditure countries such as Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar.
How do you believe IATO can contribute to increasing tourist arrivals in India?
IATO should actively engage its members, motivating them to champion tourism promotion. It should also act as a knowledge partner with all government tourism entities, both at the state and central levels.