SATTE, which is a renowned South Asian travel show began today at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. Tourism and travel operators from different parts of the world are participating in the 3 day long travel conference. The conference started on an initial discussion on sustainable tourism. Unfortunately, I missed this address. Why? Because I had fallen due to high heels on the road on my way to the conference. With major cab operators such as Uber and Ola on strike, I had limited options – take a metro or an auto. I decided to hire an auto. The reason was simple. I wanted to avoid climbing staircase with high heels, and then the hassle of boarding a metro. I managed to reach the exhibition area at 11:30 am. But an entire hour was lost in trying to locate a first aid booth in the conference. Right from exhibition desk to the ambulance outside Hall No. 11, everyone guided me with directions for a first aid booth. But sadly, I did not get any first aid. Fortunately, my wounds are not large enough, and I could manage without a first aid. God forbid, if someone has a serious emergency, what will happen? I expected the ambulance team to at least be loaded with medicines and expertise to assist me with my wounds. Such an experience highlights the lacunae in emergency and disaster management that still exist in such events organized in India.
I then headed to Hall 8 where a panel discussion on “Make in India and Tourism” was taking place. The discussion began with the evolution of tourism in India and the key pillars that form the basis of tourism. I am sharing some valuable insights from the session here.
- India’s share in the global tourism sector is less than 1%. India’s domestic tourism sector on the other hand is comparatively stronger with billions of tourists that form its base.
- In order to push growth in tourism sector, a radical shift is needed to create new demand through measures such as mega-tourism zones. GST also holds importance for Indian tourism sector.
- The sector recommends direct tax incentives to holiday in India.
- Tourism has not been defined in Indian constitution and it is recommended that this is done.
- 80% of the tourism takes place within 3 hours distance from India.
- If holiday in India is taken forward as s strategy, tourism sector contribution to Indian economy will be 4.5% (currently at 2%) and its employment rate will be 11% (currently 5%).
- It is interesting to know that first ever tourism conference was held in Kashmir in India. Kashmir has been experimenting with various technologies to push tourism in the state. Tulip gardens of Kashmir have also been instrumental in promoting tourism in the region. There is revival of Bollywood movie production in Kashmir which is likely to promote tourism of the state. The state invites regional as well as international movie makers to promote the region.
- Gir National Park is an attractive tourist destination for Gujarat and India, with the population of Asiatic Lions being rejuvenated in the wild life sanctuary adding special relevance to the place. Saurashtra region and its people need special mention to thank them for their efforts in conserving wildlife in the region. Migratory bird lovers must visit Saurashtra to observe nature at its best.
- There is a need to create new tourist destinations to promote India as a tourist destination.