Complaints about government tourism offices met by promises of change

Private sector criticism of the Government of India’s overseas tourism promotion offices has led to promises of improvement. The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) claim that majority of these offices lacked senior officials and do not respond promptly. Assistance is also needed with bids for international congresses.

This will mean stepping up resources and personnel in the 14 tourism promotion offices in London, Sydney, Los Angeles, New York, Dubai, Toronto, Beijing, Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Singapore, Johannesburg and Milan.

Rashmi Verma, secretary, Ministry of Tourism, said: “The government plans to fill these positions at the earliest so the international tourism offices can function to their optimum level. In order to promote India, the ministry will also open new offices in the relevant markets and rework on marketing strategies.”

Growth in tourist arrivals has been encouraging as the latest figures in the first five months of the year show a 19.5 per cent increase. “We will be soon be launching the Incredible India 2.0 campaign in international as well as domestic markets to push tourism numbers,” said Verma.

She added: “We are already making final revisions to the National State Tourism Policy so we can submit it to the cabinet at the earliest possible. I am hopeful that this policy will bring major changes and give India’s tourism a much-needed push.” Upgrading the Ministry of Tourism website is also on the agenda.