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India Tourism Conference ATM 2018

The Ministry of Tourism, under the “Incredible India” banner, would be showcasing the immense tourism potential of the country – business, leisure and medical value travel during the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2018 being held from 22 - 25 April, 2018 in Dubai. More than 20 participants from India, representing the travel trade, diversity of Heritage, Nature, Culture and Wellness tourism are participating in the India Pavilion set up by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India at ATM -

India Pavilion has participants representing the State Tourism Departments of Kerala, Air India, Tour Operators, Travel Agents, Hoteliers/Resorts, Wellness, Spas and Ayurveda Centres, who would be showcasing innumerable tourism products of ‘Incredible India’

The  theme  chosen  for ATM-2018 is  “Adventure,  Yoga  &  Wellness  Tourism”.   One  of  the highlights of the ‘Incredible India’ being showcased at ATM-2018 is the depiction of India as a multi- faceted tourist destination for Luxury, Wildlife, and Wellness / Medical Tourism. India has 36 World Heritage Sites which include historic monuments and natural wonders and are being promoted by the tour operators.

The Indian tourism outlook is very promising with an upswing in the growth of Foreign Tourist Arrivals  (FTAs)  in  India  in  the  recent  years.   In  2017,  India  received  10.18  million  FTAs  with  a growth rate of 15.6%. The Gulf and the Middle East region are an important market for India. There has been a consistent and positive growth of Foreign Tourist Arrivals from this region to India over the   last 3 years   with the   year   2017   having registered an   overall growth of around 10% over   the previous year. The aim is to  maintain the same pace of growth rate in international tourist arrivals over the next 3 years including Middle East through a multi-pronged approach, including proactive marketing strategies in partnership with our tourism stakeholders. Some of the countries, particularly the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Sultanate of Oman, Egypt, Turkey and Sudan have registered a significant growth and are emerging as major tourism generating markets for India from this region.

India has emerged as a Destination  for Medical / Wellness Travel in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The percentage of Foreign Tourist Arrivals visiting India for Medical Treatment has been increasing over the years and growing rapidly since year 2000. India is poised to become a hub for medical tourism because of several factors viz. world class hospitals with latest technology; highly skilled Indian physicians and surgeons; cost effective treatment; excellent quality of care and nursing; less waiting time for availing of medical  services; traditional healthcare therapies like Ayurveda& Yoga combined with allopathic treatment providing a holistic wellness destination.

India  has  a  rich  and  diverse  Natural,  Cultural  and  Religious  Heritage  which  provides  a  unique opportunity for tourism, from the architecture of India’s temples, palaces, forts, to the grandeur of its sculptures, and the beauty of its paintings,  from mountaineering to meditation, yoga to white water rafting  in  the  Ganges,  Brahmaputra,  or  in  any  of  India’s  mighty  rivers,  all  offer  an  unparalleled experience  to  the  visitors.  Seventy  Three  percent  of  the  Himalayas  are  in  India.   The  Indian

Himalayas  are  a  complete  destination  in  themselves  and span  across  six  states  of  India  namely, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and the hill regions of  West  Bengal  To  improve  infrastructural  facilities  in  the  country,  the  Ministry  of  Tourism  has launched a new scheme for the integrated development of thematic circuits.

The Ministry of Tourism has also taken the initiative of identifying, diversifying, developing and promoting nascent / upcoming niche tourism products viz. Golf Tourism, Adventure, MICE & Cruise Tourism. India’s advantage in respect of promoting cruise tourism is the long coastline from Gujarat to West Bengal and strong positioning of ports that has natural advantage to the country in attracting international  cruise  liners.   Another  advantage  for  India  is  its  proximity  to  already  popular  cruise destinations in the South Asian region. There is enormous potential in the country to develop cruise tourism, both international and domestic and the Ministry of Tourism is making all efforts to promote this segment by developing required world class cruise infrastructure. With the aim to promote India as  a  year-round  destination,  attract  tourists  with  varied  interests  and  ensure  repeat  visits,  it  was recently  decided  to  do  away  with  biometrics  for  evisa  passengers  at  the  sea  ports  to  ensure  that passenger movement out of the ship is expedited.

To  promote  Adventure  Tourism  to  India  and  to  create  awareness  about  the  varied  adventure options available, the Ministry of Tourism has decided to celebrate the year, 2018 as ‘The Year of Adventure  Tourism’.  Dramatic  Himalayan  landscapes  in  Jammu  and  Kashmir,  Himachal  Pradesh, Uttarakhand,  Sikkim,  Arunachal  Pradesh,  each  dissected  by  raging  rivers,  provide  the  perfect geography  for  adventure  sport  such  as  white  water  rafting,  rock  climbing,  skiing,  low  and  high altitude trekking, canyoning and paragliding and horse polo, and water sports such as scuba diving, parasailing, kayaking and canoeing in Kerala, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Lakshadweep and Andamans.

One  of  the  regions  in  focus  is the  North  Eastern  region  of  India which  comprises  the  eight States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. Promotion of tourism of the North Eastern States of India with its rich and diverse tourism products viz. a variety of attractive flora and fauna and also home to the unique Asian one horned Rhino, is being given special emphasis. This area is also becoming popular with tourists for River Cruises. The rich natural beauty, serene landscapes and rare flora and fauna are the main attractions in these areas.
 The  Ministry  of  Tourism  promotional  website  www.incredibleindia.org  is  available  in  Arabic, Chinese (simplified), French, German, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Spanish languages. Other IT related  initiatives  include  availability  of  guided,  multimedia  and  interactive  walking  tours.   The Ministry  of  Tourism  is  also  active  on  Social  Media  with  its  own  popular  Face  book,  Google  Plus pages, YouTube channel and Twitter handles, Instagram, Pinterest, Vimeo, Periscope and Linkedin.

One of the priorities of the Government of India is the Safety and Security of both Domestic as well as International Tourists travelling in India and accordingly, several measures have been taken in this regard. The launch of a 24x7 Toll Free Tourist Helpline in 12 International languages including German is a big step in this direction. This Helpline is available on the existing Toll Free Number 1800111363 or on a short code 1363 for dialling in India. Ministry of Tourism has also taken steps to sensitize drivers, guides and other stakeholders to highlight the theme of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ which means ‘Guest is God’.

The  Government  of  India  has  taken  path  breaking  initiative  to  liberalise  the  Visa  Regime  by providing  easy  access  to  visitors  to  the  country  in  the  form  of  e-Tourist  Visa  (e-TV)  which  was launched in November 2014. The e-Tourist Visa facility, now extended to 163 countries (including Jordan, Oman, Palestine & UAE), has led to the ease of travel to India. During the year 2017 total of 16.97 lakh tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 10.80 lakh during year 2016 registering a growth  of  57.2%.  E-Visa  is  now  available  under  three  sub-categories  i.e.  ‘e-Tourist  Visa’,  ‘e-

Business Visa’ and ‘e-Medical Visa’. The window for application under  e-Visa has been increased from  the  existing  30  days  to  120  days  and  the  duration  of  stay  in  India  under  e-Visa  has  been increased  from  the  existing  30  days  to  60  days.  Complete  list   of  countries  is  available  on https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html  and   18599  &  34134  visitors  travelled  from  UAE  to India and e-visa in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The total number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals from UAE saw a rise from 67165 during 2016 to 68045 during the year 2017 (provisional) with an increase of 1.31%.

The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India is taking new initiatives with a new marketing strategy. With the launch of “Incredible India 2.0 Campaign”, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India is engaging with all stakeholders to ensure widespread publicity to offer maximum support to its tourism industry and to highlight India’s diverse range of tourism products.

A  new  Incredible  India  website  is  being  developed  with  a  view  to  provide  an  enhanced experience  to  visitors.  The  new  Incredible  India  website  will  have  a  range  of  features,  such  as personalization,  responsive  designs,  social  media  marketing,  content  creation  and  management. Google  through  their  Arts  and  Culture  initiative  is  partnering  with  the  Ministry  of  Tourism  in enriching the new website with 360 degree videos, museum views, etc.

Diverse  tourism  products  are  our  strength  and  India  Tourism  along  with  all  our  tourism  stake holders will be working hand in hand to take Incredible India to greater heights.

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