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Wednesday, 16 May, 2018, 12 : 07 PM [IST]

Hits & Misses!

As a curious observer of Indian tourism for the last 10 years, I have seen and heard from ‘n’ number of for a, ministers, policy-makers, and bureaucrats presenting and painting pictures of, how India as a destination with its unparalleled wealth of nature, culture, and heritage is poised for a big leap forward on the world tourism map, and setting for themselves a targets to achieve in terms of international inbound, tourist receipts, jobs, etc. Ironically, I haven’t seen any perceptible development on the ground other than moving the goalpost in a whimsical fashion when a new government, minister or bureaucrat takes charge.

But, one cannot afford to lose hope when we have a real ‘doer’ with proven credentials at the helm in the Ministry! If his magic works, Indian tourism will have a field-day in the next three years. The numbers will swell – at least double in the next three years, and the tourism receipts as well, that is his promise. If the Minister himself has to be believed, the latest digital video by Incredible India on social media – Yogi of the Race Track – has received “40 million hits” and “over 20 million views” in the first 10 days of its launch. The 60-second video released, without incurring any dent on the marketing budget, according to our Minister, is a digital miracle. If that is the popularity of the digital video, it’s quite sure that the same would break records in the “most watched videos’’ list soon. On a serious note, if half of these 20 million viewers (sorry, it might have crossed 50 million by now) decide to visit India to see the real ‘Yogi’s India’, it will be a windfall for Indian tourism in the coming years.

And, of course, a racing expert like the one shown in the video would not be staying in a 5-star city hotel, but would rather go on exploring remote places in the Himalayas searching for his guru, yoga and salvation, precisely the cultural hubs of ‘Bharat’. That would necessarily create demand for the infrastructure of a different type and nature. Hence, it is time for the hotel companies, which are looking to bring new brands and concepts to India, to brainstorm the most appropriate concept and model for remote India now, before getting late. Indeed, it is going to be exciting times ahead.

And, for those industry leaders who are still in slumber, the good news is that the government has announced its intent to ease the Coastal Regulations for tourism. The new Draft CRZ 2018 notification that has been released for feedback and suggestions has some liberal proposals which could open up the highly-regulated Indian coasts and backwater islands for tourism. Do check it out.

PKrishna Kumar
Bureau Chief, New Delhi
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