Despite negative signals from the global economy, the number of foreign tourist arrivals in the country in 2012 (up to November) showed an increase of about 6 % over the same period of 2011. During the period January- November 2012, 58.99 lakh tourists visited India against 55.72 lakh in 2011.Similarly foreign exchange earnings from tourismin rupee terms during 2012 ( up to November) were Rs.83,938 crore with a growth of 22.1% over the same period in 2011.The foreign exchange earnings during 2011 was to the tune of Rs.68,721 crore.
The year 2012 also witnessed the launch of campaign clean India to enhance the image of country abroad. The Tourism ministry signed MoUs with the Ministries of Railways, Civil Aviation and Information & Broadcasting with the purpose of seeking their cooperation to boost tourism in the country. Some of the major initiatives of the ministry undertaken during 2012 are given below:
MoU on Tourism with ASEAN
India signed an MoU with and ASEAN in January this year which would serve as the key instrument for more action oriented cooperation, encouraging both parties to cooperate in facilitating travel and tourist visit and further strengthening the close tourism partnership. The MoU was signed by Union Tourism Minister at Manado, Indonesia. The main objectives of the MoU are to : cooperate in facilitating travel and tourist visits, further strengthen the tourism partnership, enhance mutual assistance and human resource development for tourism sector, take necessary steps for exploring avenues of cooperation and sharing of information, exchange information pertaining to investment opportunities and economic data in tourism, travel and hospitality sectors.
India Tourism Road Shows in Saudi Arabia
The Ministry of Tourism with the objective to tap the high end touristsfrom Saudi Arabia organised Tourism Road Shows in the cities of Dammam, Riyadh and Jeddah in January 2012.A strong Indian delegation comprising officials from the Tourism Departments of Jammu & Kashmir and Maharashtra, members of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), Air India, Jet Airways, Taj Group of Hotels, Medical and Wellness facilities etc., from India were present to showcase the multitude of tourist attractions of India to the Saudi Arabian Traveler. The Indian delegation was led by Union Tourism Secretary.
India is fast emerging as a preferred destination for the Saudi tourists.
During the year 2010 there has been an increase of nearly 38% in the inbound tourism from Saudi Arabia to India with around twenty two thousand tourists.
Signing of MoUs
Union Ministry of Tourism signed MoUs with the Ministries of Civil Aviation, Railways and Information & Broadcasting to promote more synergy with these Ministries. The Civil Aviation Ministry will help in effectively positioning India as a preferred tourism destination in the tourist generating markets overseas. The MoU with Railways is towards a sustained sensitization campaigns for train travelers and service providers to evolve strategies for the up-keep and cleanliness of the stations and coaches.
National Awards for Excellence in Hospitality Education
The National Awards for Excellence in Hospitality Education (2010-11) were presented in three categories i.e. awards to the students, awards to the teaching faculty and awards to the Institutes. The awardees in the first category were the students who had excelled in academic performance during the year 2010-11. In all, 23 students were awarded.
Campaign Clean India
Union Tourism Minister launched the Pilot Project under Clean India Campaign at Qutab Minar,New Delhi. Under the Clean India Pilot Project, all issues regarding the heritage site are taken care of including providing drinking water facilities, renovation of toilets, proper signages in and around the premises, placing of garbage bins, maintenance of parking lots at Qutab Minar, conversion of Qutab Minar Complex into friendly zone for physically challenged persons, various repair/replacement work, 24 X 7 management and garbage clearance, tourist help desks and deployment of volunteers for better management amongst others. Clean India Campaign has been initiated by the Ministry of Tourism with the objective to increase tourist arrivals to the country and to improve quality of services and provide a hygienic environment in and around tourist destinations across the country. In the first phase of the campaign, 36 such monuments have been identified by the Ministry of Tourism and. Archaeological Survey of India.
SAARC tour operators conclave
The conclave of SAARC tour operators was held at Delhi to motivate each SAARC country in such a way that tourism becomes the focus of economic and political agenda.
About 45 leading Tour Operators from India, Maldives, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan attended the conclave. The conclave focused on various strategies to promote tourist destinations and products in the SAARC region.
National workshop to promote Hunar Se Rozgar
A National workshop of State Tourism Development Corporations to promote Hunar Se Rozgar initiatives for skill development of youth for employment was held at Delhi. The workshop was organized to sensitize the stake holders onHunar Se Rozgar initiative and motivate them into action mode. It was attended by Trade Associations, Principals of Institute of Hotel Managements and eminent persons from Travel and Tour Industry.
Adoption of 10 monuments under campaign clean India
The Ministry of Tourism facilitated the adoption of ten important Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) monuments by Institutes of Hotel Management (IHM) and Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management under Campaign Clean India. The monument are :- i) Golkunda Fort, Hyderabad; ii) Cathedral & St. Francis Assisi Church Complex , old Goa; iii) Gwalior Fort; iv) Buddhist Caves, Kanheri (Maharashtra); v) Megalithic Bridge on the Um-Nyakaneth between Jaracm andSyndai, Um-Nyakaneth, (Meghalya); vi) Red Fort, Delhi; vii) Temples at Bhubneshwar ; viii) Bhatinda Fort, (Punjab); ix)Mamallapuram Group of Monuments, (Tamil Nadu); and x) Imambara of Asaf-ud Daula,lucknow.The Ministry of Tourism will engage the Quality Council of India (QCI) for an independent and objective evaluation of the state of cleanliness specific to each monument chosen for adoption. The QCI will classify the improvement over the adoption period as Average, Good, Very Good and Excellent. Based on the QCI classification, the Ministry will extend awards with citation to the adopters.
Golden Jubilee of Institute of Hotel Management Pusa New Delhi
Institute of Hotel Management, Pusa, New Delhi celebrated its Golden Jubilee this year.lee celebrations of were held. The institute was setup in 1962. The Institute was bestowed National Award for the Best Institute for Overall Performance for four consecutive years in 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. The Institute was bestowed National Award of the Best Institute in Academics in 2007-08,2009-10, 2010-11, in Placement in 2007-08, in implementing central schemes in 2008-09, 2009-10 and in Skill Certification Programme in 2008-09.
International Buddhist Conclave
A two day International Buddhist Conclave was held at Sarnath, Varanasi. The conclave was held with a view to showcasing and projecting the Buddhist Heritage of India. The delegates at the conclave included the International Buddhist scholars, tour operators and media both domestic and international who actively promote Buddhist Tourism. About 130 Overseas guests including Buddhist scholars,tour operators and Media representatives from 30 countries includingAustralia,Belgium,Bhutan,Cambodia,Canada,China,France,Holland,Hungary,
Indonesia,Italy,Japan,laos,Malaysia,Myanmar,New Zealand, Phillipines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, USA and Vietnam attended the conclave.
Two new campaigns launched
India Tourism launched two new campaigns : an International Campaign called ‘Find What You Seek’ and a Domestic Campaign called ‘Go Beyond’. These campaigns where launched at the recently concluded “World Travel Market-2012”, which was held at London. The launch of these campaigns reflects a very important paradigm shift in our strategy to promote India within the country and abroad. The ‘Go Beyond’ campaign focuses on promoting lesser known destinations to domestic as well as international tourists. This year Ministry of Tourism participated in WTM by taking a space that was about 15% higher than last year’s space. This year, there were over 110 Indian participants from the trade, State Governments and Union Territory Administrations in WTM for doing serious business.
Southern Zonal Tourism Council set up
The Tourism Ministry setup a Southern Zonal Tourism Council (SZTC) comprising the States of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry. The setting up of the council will help facilitate development of Tourism and tourism products of Southern India in a holistic and comprehensive manner. The issues of competitive taxation of tourism products, inter-state taxation, seamless tourist movement by facilitating smooth facilitation at entry and exit points of the States will be addressed by the council. The SZTC will have a mandate to look at the inter-State taxation on tourist vehicles, interstate permits, smooth facilitation at the entry and exit points of the States and development of requisiteinfrastructure at destinations.
WTA awards to India
India has bagged three prestigious awards from World Travel Awards (WTA). These are: World’s Leading Destination- India, World’s Leading Tourist Board- Incredible India and World’s Leading Tourist Attraction- Taj Mahal. Established 19 years ago, WTA is committed to raising the standards of customer service and overall business performance throughout the international tourism industry. This was for the first time that WTA ceremony was held in Asia.
The Government lifted the restriction of the two-month gap on re-entry of foreign nationals coming to India except in the case of nationals of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, foreigners of Pakistan and Bangladesh origins and Stateless persons.This decision has addressed a long pending demand of the travel industry and would facilitate tourists visiting the country.
VOA Scheme becomes popular
The “Visa on Arrival” (VoA) Scheme of the government has become popular with the tourists. The scheme registered a growth of 25% during the period January-November 2012 over the corresponding period of 2011. A total number of 13,903VoAs were issued during the period January-November 2012 as compared to 11,121 VoAs issued during the corresponding period of 2011. The highest number of 3913 VoAs were issued to the tourists from Japan followed by New Zealand ( 2645) and The Philippines ( 2205).