India makes bid to tap tourism with G20 Presidency

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By S Jha

New Delhi, November 9: With China staying in no travel list for the foreign tourists on account of unabated Covid-19 pandemic, India is steadily improving its presence on the global tourism map, with the arrivals of the tourists sharply rising this year. India is now seeking to significantly scale up its efforts to attract tourists as the country takes the Presidency of G20.

From about two lakh foreign tourists in January this year, India has seen trebling of the inflows of the foreigners in July, 2022, recording about 6.40 lakh arrivals. Tourists from the US, Bangladesh, the UK and Australia accounted for the top four places, while the sector is on course of a healthy contribution to the gross domestic product.

India is showcasing its successful Covid-19 management with effective vaccination programme to attract the foreign tourists. With the Russia-Ukraine War plunging Europe into grave energy crisis, a significant number of Europeans are likely to escape the harsh Winter months to the destinations in East and South Asia. Countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines are bracing up to attract the European tourists with economical packages.

In this context, with the G-20 Presidency likely to give India’s tourism sector an opportunity to showcase tourism offerings, additional secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Rakesh Kumar Verma attended the World Travel Market 2022 in London, and spelt out India’s  focus on sustainable tourism, digitalization of tourism sector and development of tourism MSMEs.

Tourism is one sector which has great resilience and it has bounced back from various adversities and crisis, including Covid-19. “The success of huge vaccination drive in India makes it a safe tourist destination. Theme of this year`s exhibition is ‘The Future of Travel Starts Now’. At the World Travel Market 2022 in London, India is showcasing the varied tourism offerings of India to the global tourism industry stakeholders such as tour operators, travel agents and media among others,” said the Ministry of Tourism in an official statement on Wednesday.

India’s focus on promoting sustainable tourism, digitalization of tourism sector, development of tourism MSMEs and skills is also being highlighted through the platform of media at the ongoing WTM. India is also being promoted as a safe tourist destination post Covid-19.

Verma said that tourism sector was hugely impacted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, he said tourism is one sector which has great resilience and it has bounced back from various adversities and crisis. He also informed that in India, tourism is recovering well with domestic tourism contributing significantly. “India has achieved unprecedented success in vaccinating our people. Approx. 2.19 billion doses have been administered showing that India as a tourist destination is safer and more resilient to tackle the threat posed by the current pandemic,” he stated.

Under the G20 Presidency, India is expected to host over 200 meetings across 55 cities in the country. “The G-20 Presidency will give India’s tourism sector an unparalleled opportunity to highlight India’s tourism offerings and share India’s tourism success stories on a global stage,” said Verma.

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