Andhra Pradesh pitches for convention tourism at Singapore show

October 26th, 2008 - 3:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Singapore, Oct 26 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh strongly pitched for its convention tourism at the ITB Asia show here and offered customized tours for individuals and groups. Sujatha Gottipati, deputy director of the Hyderabad-based Andhra Pradesh Tourism Corporation, said the state offered all the “attractive features that make up the ‘Incredible India’ image”, by which she meant features such as eco-tourism, adventure and nature, meetings and conventions, etc.

The ITB Asia show, making its first appearance in Singapore, is the Asian edition of the ITB Berlin, the world’s largest tourism fair organized by Messe Berlin.

“Andhra Pradesh is attaching priority to the MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions) tourism. We have the state-of-the-art Hyderabad International Convention Centre and the Shilpa Kala Vedika Convention Centre,” Gottipati told IANS.

“One of the highlights of Andhra Pradesh’s tourism promotion efforts includes the creation of customized tours suited to the needs of the individual tourist or group. Based on the customer’s wish list, we prepare a customized tour,” she said.

Andhra Pradesh gets tourists from Europe, United States and Southeast Asia. The state is also developing its so-called Buddhist circuit, with special appeal to Southeast Asians. “We discern a growing medical tourism traffic from Middle East, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other countries,” she maintained, adding that she would follow up on the “large number of enquiries” received at the Singapore venue.

Neela Lad, the Singapore based deputy director of the Government of India Tourism Office, claimed that India was “doing very well” in Singapore. “People are not just interested in the Taj Mahal. They are also interested in nature, MICE and other tourism attractions of India. India gets substantial traffic from Malaysia, which has surged to over 100,000, Thailand gets 80,000 visitors and Singapore somewhere between 80 and 90,000,” Lad told IANS.

India had reduced visa fees for Singaporean nationals from S$ 80 to $ 30. “This will, invariably, boost tourism traffic to India. We are also promoting our Buddhist circuit with a view to attracting Buddhist tourists from Southeast Asia.”

Hotel accommodation continues to be a major problem in India, with Indian hotels demanding outrageous prices for rooms. This subject also cropped up in various discussions with foreign tour operators who complained that the quality of India’s hotel rooms and service did not justify the prohibitive hotel rates.

However, Lad was confident that this problem would be eased with the setting up of reasonably-priced hotel rooms and also providing simple bed and breakfast in private establishments. “We are working on this for the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and are finding ways and means to ease the problem of accommodating,” she said.

Indeed, India’s outbound traffic is already seen by many foreign tourism experts as one of the world’s “most exciting markets”. Singapore-based Martin Buck, an authority on international tourism and the managing director of Messe Berlin (Singapore) put it succinctly: “India is one of the most potential source markets of the decade with a 400 million strong middle-class consumers. Online-travel booking is progressing well. We at Messe Berlin see good potential for tourism out of India.”

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