Identifying high airfares and the e-Visa issue for the UK and Canada are the “few dampeners” ahead of the inbound season for India, the Tourism Secretary, Arvind Singh said that while the government cannot do much on the airfare front, they are in constant touch with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to find a solution to the e-Visa issue.
The Tourism Secretary was speaking to the media on the sidelines of the SEPC-organised Hospitality & Tourism Conclave in Delhi. While enquiries are good for India as a destination, Singh said that both abnormally high airfares and the vexed e-Visa issue with the UK and Canada are creating hurdles for international inbound tourism into India.
Airfares are determined by demand and supply and the government cannot do much about that, he said.
When asked about the Incredible India brand marketing and promotions in the international market, Singh said that the department will soon move the proposal for a National Tourism Board (NTB) to the Cabinet. Conceived as an apex nodal body for marketing and promotion of India in the overseas markets, the National Tourism Board will be a publicly funded body, he said.
He said that the institutional framework of the National Tourism Board is designed by studying the best available in other countries like Singapore, Japan, Korea, etc.
“Since it will be a publicly funded Board, the CEO will be from the government. It will have experts from the industry as well. The main mandate of the Board will be to liaise with the Missions abroad for promotions and marketing of India as a tourist destination,” Singh said.On the much anticipated National Tourism Policy, the Tourism Secretary said that the policy is in the final stages of consultations and expected to be ready soon. He said that the policy has gone for comments from different stakeholding ministries of the government of India and the same is expected in the next couple of weeks’ time.
He said that the objective of the ensuing national tourism policy is to make India a 365-day destination. The policy will put Indian tourism on five key missions – National Green Tourism Mission, National Digital Tourism Mission, National Skill Mission, National Mission on destination management organisation, and National Mission on Tourism MSME.