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ITB Berlin News - Day 2

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ASIA REGION 37 © Gopal

ASIA REGION 37 © Gopal Vijayaraghavan Pangong Tso lake, India India: Multi-destination Par Excellence India’s Secretary of Tourism, Vinod Zutshi, spoke to ITB Berlin News about the rapid evolution of India as a tourist destination. India is the world’s seventh-largest country with a population of over 1.2billion. Since the launch of its Incredible India initiative in 2002, the country has become a credible global tourism heavyweight, continuing to grow and develop its approach to the changing market. Speaking to ITB Berlin News, Mr Vinod Zutshi spoke about how tourism is evolving in India, and opening up new destinations therein: “India has one of the fastest growing tourism industries in the world. The Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) have been growing every year - 2014 witnessed a growth of 10.6% in FTAs in India, which was higher than the median growth rate of 4.7% globally. India being a vast country there is no dearth of destinations. While the traditional Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur) circuit and beach destinations like Goa and Kerala continue to show growth, there are also many other parts of the country that are attracting visitors. Tourism has grown in leaps and bounds in India over the years with each region contributing something to its splendour and exuberance. India is a country with rich cultural diversity of its people through its languages, cuisine, traditions, customs, music, dance, religious practices, festivals, its holistic healing traditions, art and craft.” What are your key goals at ITB Berlin 2016? ITB is a meeting point for the Who’s Who of the travel trade from across the world - it is important for us to be here refreshing old contacts, making new ones and establishing a presence in the relevant markets. This year at ITB we are promoting India as a destination for mental and spiritual rejuvenation. India is the land of Yoga and Ayurveda which promotes holistic health. India is already a sought-after destination for healthcare travellers but we are now consolidating efforts and generating strategies on how to leverage the available opportunities. To achieve this goal, Ministry of Tourism has set up a Medical and Wellness Tourism promotion board. As well promoting India as a destination, how are you making it more accessible? Wherever you are, it is now increasingly easy to gain access to India with the click of a mouse. The e-Tourist Visa (eTV) facility has now been extended to 37 more countries from 26th February 2016. The total count of countries under the scheme now is 150. The new 37 countries range from Albania to Zimbabwe. In terms of feeder markets, the US and the UK along with our neighbouring countries remain the top source markets for India. But tourist arrivals from other countries such as Russia, South Africa and China have shown great interest and substantial increase. What developments can we expect in the future? The Ministry of Tourism has also taken the initiative of identifying, diversifying, developing and promoting nascent/upcoming niche tourism products. The aim is to promote India as a year round destination, to attract tourists with specific interests and to ensure repeat visits. Such niche products that are being developed and promoted include Rural Tourism, Wellness, Medical, Adventure, Golf, MICE Tourism. Another thrust area which is being pursued aggressively is promoting India as a Cruise Tourism Destination. India has tremendous potential to attract international cruises and lots of effort is being taken by the Government of India to upgrade our facilities to cater to the cruise industry. And on the subject of improving infrastructure, we have incubated a new scheme called Swadesh Darshan to produce a plethora of “ideal” tourism experiences incorporating culture, religion, cuisine, entertainment, architecture, crafts, adventure sports, roadways and transport, all over the country. Hall 5.2B Vinod Zutshi Secretary of Tourism, Government of India WE ARE PROMOTING INDIA AS A DESTINATION FOR MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL REJUVENATION ITB BERLIN NEWS • Thursday 10 th March 2016

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