TravelBiz Monitor

Editorial

Friday, 17 May, 2019, 16 : 09 PM [IST]
Plugging for an Indian ‘Game of Thrones’ Tour

On a recent visit to Ireland I saw how an immensely popular TV series has fired the imagination of the tourism business there, resulting in steadily increasing tourist numbers with glib marketing and presentation. The sites of the Game of Thrones (GoT) series, shot majorly in Northern Ireland, are packaged in a most interesting manner in ways to give visitors as close an experience of the series as possible.

The excitement, the ‘battle’ scenes, the intrigue, mystery, twists and turns and spectacle of Indian elections can easily match any GoT plot. Incidentally both shows conclude this month. Indian elections are a perfect opportunity for Experiential Tourism - if the country wills to market it. Elections in India can be the ultimate safari. No other democracy can rival India in this tourism genre when it comes to variety in terrain, colours and cacophony in the entirely colourful settings. The thick of the rallies, public shows and surging crowds is an adrenalin-charged experience. If heat and dust is an issue, that adds to the mystique, if packaged and sold well.

These elections mobilised 11 million officials to conduct the election at 1.04 million polling stations with over 2 million electronic voting machines. In which country has the world heard of where polling staff have to trek in snowbound areas in Himalayas with oxygen cylinders, sleeping bags, food, torches, along with electronic voting machines and indelible ink to set up polling booths? Where in the world will one see a polling booth for a lone voter in the Gir forest in Gujarat or where a medical team accompanies polling officials to assist them in case of swarming bees that might attack at a particular place in Chhattisgarh?

These elections mobilised 11 million officials to conduct the election at 1.04 million polling stations with over 2 million electronic voting machines. In which country has the world heard of where polling staff have to trek in snowbound areas in Himalayas with oxygen cylinders, sleeping bags, food, torches, along with electronic voting machines and indelible ink to set up polling booths? Where in the world will one see a polling booth for a lone voter in the Gir forest in Gujarat or where a medical team accompanies polling officials to assist them in case of swarming bees that might attack at a particular place in Chhattisgarh?

More than 2,500 tourists are apparently participating in this event this year. While most are students, researchers, media professionals or political analysts, the ripple effect generated by the buzz cannot be underestimated. Tourism departments can explore FAM trips for such opinion-makers as well.

I hear some tour operators had sent letters and brochures to Indian ambassadors based in major countries, urging them to promote the concept of Election Tourism in that markets. It would be an interesting and educative exercise to learn how and if they responded to their proposal for India’s Game of Thrones.

Anurag Yadav
Travel Writer & Industry Expert


The views expressed within this column are the opinion of the author, and may not necessarily be endorsed by the publication.

 
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