Aimed at attracting more Americans to explore the various facets of ‘Incredible India’, road shows are being held in different US cities to showcase the country’s various facets ranging from rich cultural and historical heritage to adventure and medical tourism.
The four-day road show, organised by the government of India in association with industry stakeholders, received enthusiastic response from the US tour operators, officials said in Washington. “The road show has reflected that there is a lot of interest among Americans to visit India and explore its various facets ranging from rich cultural and historical heritage to adventure and medical tourism,” said, Meenakshi Sharma, Director General (Tourism).
Sharma is leading a high-powered Indian tourism delegation to Washington DC, Boston, Seattle and San Francisco in the US and Vancouver in Canada.
On an average 1.2 million American tourists visit India every year. The Department of Tourism has set the goal of increasing it by 10 per cent every year, which she said is doable.
For this, Sharma underscored the need of creating the right kind of partnership. And now that the connectivity has increased due to more direct flights between the two countries, she hoped that more and more American tourists will opt India as their destination.
A similar road show was held in New York last year and this year they are having in new cities. In her presentation before the key American stakeholders and tourism partners, Sharma talked about the various experiences that American tourists can have in India, starting from heritage to fair and festivals, cuisine and shopping. The focus, this time, she said, is more on themes rather than on destination.
‘Because, we understand that nowadays people would like to experience and not so much ticking a box’, she said. Noting that India is just getting started to explore its tourism potential, she said World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) lists India at third position in Travel and Tourism Power and Performance Report 2018.
India accounts for just 1.2 per cent of the world tourism share, and India’s earnings in terms of World Tourism Receipts is 2.1 per cent, she said. ‘This reflects that, travellers coming to India are spending more, and India is just getting started, Sharma said.
However, the growth of foreign tourist arrival in India (14 per cent in 2017) is much faster than rest of the world (6.8 per cent)’, she said. In her presentation, she said that India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world, with 18 of the 125 airports being international airports and as many as 23 airports have been developed and upgraded in the last five years.
As part of its efforts to promote tourism, India has extended e-visa facility to 167 countries. In 2018, 274,000 Americans visited India through e-visa facility.
While single entry has been converted to multiple entries, she said existing restriction of allowing foreigner for visiting India for a maximum of three times in a year has been removed.
The government has also extended e-visa facility for tourist, business, medical and cruise, she said.