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Himalayas given tourism push for India's off season
Rohit Kaul, New Delhi, September 30, 2013

AIMING to boost off-season traffic and promote the Himalayas mountain range, India's Ministry of Tourism launched the 777 Days of Incredible Indian Himalayas campaign on World Tourism Day last week.


Focusing on the six Himalayan states – Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh – the campaign aims to position India as a 365-day destination by attracting foreigners during the lean summer season.


The ministry collaborated with the Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) to design 777 days’ worth of special adventure programmes that began on September 27, including a Himalayan run, river rafting, trekking and cycling events.


“The campaign has been designed to spread awareness around the globe that 73 per cent of the Himalayan range lies in India. The Indian Himalayas are a complete destination that offers adventure, bio-diversity hot spots, beautiful lakes, wellness, and much more for travellers,” said K Chiranjeevi, minister of tourism.


Ashwani Kakkar, chairman of Mercury Travels, said the campaign would shine light on the fact that the Himalayas contains one of the biggest bio-diversity hotspots in the world.


Besides the campaign, two promotional films, a book on travelling safe within the Himalayas, a calendar of events and a website for the campaign were unveiled by the ministry.


Ministry of Tourism’s secretary, Parvez Dewan, explained: “We held discussions with the travel trade, especially adventure tour operators, and we believe that if during summers we promote (travel to the) Himalayas, the off season can be solved to a great extent.”


He added that the campaign would also benefit states with airports serving Himalayan routes.


“Normally, inbound tourism (peaks) between October and March. We are looking for initiatives to ensure tourist arrivals in the summer season too. This campaign will go a long way in solving off-season woes and promoting the Himalayas as a tourism destination,” said Subhash Goyal, president, Indian Association of Tour Operators.


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