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Tuesday, 02 May, 2017, 12 : 00 PM [IST]

NITI Aayog’s 3-Year Action Agenda for Tourism suggests sharing of marketing resources by govt. & private sector

Asks MoT to conduct Cost-Benefit Analysis of Indiatourism offices as part of harnessing digital marketing tools
The 3-year Action Agenda of NITI Aayog  for 2017-20 outlining policy changes and programmes for different sectors of the economy has suggested radical changes in the way tourism marketing and promotions are currently conducted by the government. The Agenda has suggested sharing the resources by both the government and the private industry stakeholders equally to create a common fund for overseas marketing activities. The paper also suggests dedicating a specific percentage of e-tourist visa fees for marketing and promotion activities.

‘Incentivise the private sector to contribute resources and earmark funds for marketing. We should create a scheme under which the government matches in equal amount private sector expenditure on tourism marketing’, says NITI Aayog.

‘Under ‘Experience India,’ this is being done but on a small scale. Further, we can also mandate that a pre-defined amount or share of tourism revenues – such as the e-Tourist visa fee – is set aside for marketing and promotion. The Ministry of Tourism can draw upon the experience of the ‘Brand USA’ campaign where USD 10 of each applicant’s visa fee is allocated to marketing,’ the agenda adds.

Another radical suggestion that forms the tourism agenda of NITI Aayog is the efficacy of the Indiatourism offices both within the country and 14 other destinations abroad. While asking the Ministry of Tourism to harness digital marketing  and social media tools for efficient marketing results, NITI Aayog asks the department to conduct a ‘Cost-Benefit analysis’ of these offices and close down which are not required.

‘The Ministry of Tourism currently has 14 overseas and 20 domestic offices. It should conduct a cost-benefit analysis of these offices relative to the effectiveness of digital marketing efforts. If the physical locations appear ineffective, closing them where appropriate would release funds for digital marketing efforts,’ the document says.
Among strategies to further simplify documentations required for foreign tourists, the NITI Aayog agenda paper suggests a dedicated visa for MICE travellers.  ‘We should also streamline immigration processes for cruise tourists with Advance Passenger Information (API), on-board clearances and other processes to ease entry,’ it says.

The Agenda also reiterates government’s ambitious tourism development plans around coastal islands by 2020. ‘Globally, beach holidays have grown by 18% over the last five years and remain an important segment of leisure travel with 28% of all holiday trips. …. The Central government has already expressed interest in developing about 10 islands in India into global destinations. Of these, 5 have been identified in Lakshadweep and another five in the Andaman Islands. These islands would primarily target foreign tourists. We should partner with investors to start developing hotels and resorts on all 5 islands by 2020.”

Among various other recommendations, the top planning body of the country also put forward need to develop “truly world class’ Five National Circuits. ‘Developing fewer circuits will allow us to shift the focus to quality, creating world class tourism circuits from entry to exit. We should focus efforts on building five globally competitive destinations and complete these by 2020, partnering with state governments and the private sector.”
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