India invited the Swedish travel industry to an evening celebrating the vast and exciting country at Clarion Hotel in Stockholm. We were unfortunately unable to attend the workshop with all the individual tour operators, but we had an interesting press conference together with India’s ambassador to Sweden and Latvia, Mrs. Banashri Bose Harrison, and Mr Parvez Dewan, Secretary at the Indian Ministry of Tourism.
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Mr Parvez Dewan spoke about the many factors that drive tourism to India and what obstacles the tourism industry must face in order to further improve the statistics. According to his analysis India first of all must work with visa liberalisation, an increased sense of physical security and registering of travel agents, food safety and proper water use.
Mr Parvez Dewan and his ministry are not promoting low-budget mass-tourism to India (”with negative impact on economy as well as ecology”), but is rather looking into ways of increasing tourist spending per capita. The most interesting part of India’s future plans is to focus even more on the web presence. Instead of opening tourist offices, they will enhance the website to eventually include a full trip planner together with a proper booking system for airline and railway trickets, package tours, and hotels. An impressive ambition, to say the least.
Apart from that, Mr Parvez Dewan – an experienced Lonely Planet writer – announced that the Ministry of Tourism will open up toll-free phone lines in ten different languages that will cater to the needs of global tourists and tour operators going to India.
Johan Eriksson and his colleague from Aeroflot’s Stockholm office recieved a token of appreciation from the Incredible India team.
Qatar Airways were also awarded with appreciation for increasing tourism flows into India.
Even after the dlicious Indian dinner, a crowd is waiting for the business card draw.
Air India was there with information regarding their new Dreamliner.
Text and photos: Christian von Essen, Travel Report