India to host series of tourism roadshows abroad

June 17th, 2009 - 8:18 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 17 (IANS) India plans to hold a series of roadshows abroad, including in Australia, New Zealand and Russia, to showcase the country’s rich diversity and attract tourists, officials said here Wednesday.
Tourism Minister Kumari selja held a meeting with the captains of the industry and discussed how to attract more tourists to the country in the times of economic recession.

Selja said the government was planning several roadshows abroad for this purpose.

A series of roadshows will be held in Helsinki, Stockholm and Oslo Aug 25-28, she said.

A series of roadshows in Australia has been rescheduled on the grounds that the situation there was not normal as a series of allegedly racist attacks on Indian students were taking place. The minister said an adventure tourism roadshows will be held in Australia in September. Earlier, it was scheduled for July.

“The shows are being held in collaboration with Adventure Tour Operators Association of India,” she said.

These shows will be held in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Auckland and Wellington, she added.

Another series has been planned for Moscow and St. Petersburg, where Indian food and cultural programmes would be highlighted.

Selja said ‘India Calling’, a live performance event at Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, has also been planned in September.

In West Asia, roadshows will be organised in countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar in October, she said.

In the meeting with industry representatives, she also highlighted the ministry’s proactive role “to counter the negative impact of the global recession as well as to achieve the desired growth in foreign tourist arrivals into the country”.

About 5.08 million tourists visited India in 2007, recording a growth of 14.56 percent over the previous year. But January saw a 17.6 percent dip with only 487,262 foreign tourist arrivals.

In April, some improvement was witnessed with 370,756 tourists visiting India - a drop of 3.5 percent over the same month of the previous year.

Selja “reiterated that the thrust area for the government will be creation and improvement of tourism infrastructure, promotion and publicity of India as a preferred tourism destination in overseas markets, promotion of domestic tourism, development of human resource through skill development,” the ministry said in a statement.

She urged the industry to promote medical and wellness tourism and rural tourism products, especially keeping in mind the Commonwealth Games to be hosted here next year.

Minister of State for Tourism Sultan Ahmed said that tourism can play as a catalyst for development in the rural sector.

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