India’s new tourism policy that has been in a limbo for a long period is expected to be introduced in the next two months, and will roll out after the Union Cabinet’s approval, shared Rakesh Kumar Verma, additional secretary (tourism), Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
The announcement was made during an address to delegates at the 37th annual convention of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) that took place in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh last week.
Once introduced, the new tourism policy will pave the way to reinstate India’s promotional activities which have been put on hold since the onset of the pandemic.
Verma shared: “We had an overseas promotional scheme under which we used to undergo promotional campaigns in all overseas markets. Prior to the pandemic, we were on track spending 3 billion rupees (US$36 million) every year on our marketing and promotional campaigns.
“After the onset of the pandemic, the funds were not released. However, now with the new tourism policy, we have our plans ready for the next five years which will see (the) setting up of a national tourism board and aggressive promotion of our destinations in international markets.”
Tour operators have been ruing that unlike other international tourism government bodies, India has not undergone marketing campaigns in overseas markets after the much-improved pandemic situation.
“We need an immediate marketing splash from the Ministry of Tourism for the period 2023-2024 followed by long-term plans. The efforts have to start now if we want the inbound tourism sector to get going,” opined Rajnish Kaistha, director of Paradise Holidays.
Apart from dedicated funding on tourism sub sectors like adventure, wellness and MICE, the new tourism policy will also focus on digital and social media marketing – the ministry has recently appointed McCann as its agency for branding and social media activities.
In addition, the ministry has decided to scrap its 20 overseas tourism offices and will instead appoint tourism representative companies in these markets.