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San Francisco's 'Incredible India' Road Show A boost to Indian Tourism
SI Team
Monday, October 1, 2012
Though it is not a secret that India is a country of contrasts, where one can find the ice coated Himalayas on the one hand, and the Thar and Kutch Desert on the other. Oceans, beaches, wonderful mountain sceneries, life filled Sunderban rain forests are just a few to name. In terms of the number of world heritage sites, India ranks seventh in the world. Yet India’s contribution is merely 0.6 percent towards the Travel and Tourism industry. Travel and Tourism continues to be one of the world’s largest industries, which have contributed 9 percent of global GDP or nearly $6 trillion in 2011.

To increase this share to one percent by the year 2016, the India Tourism, Los Angeles organized an Incredible India Road Show at San Francisco on 11 September, 2012 in collaboration with the ASTA India Chapter and the Indian Association of Tour Operators. Ministry of State for Tourism, Government of India along with officials of the Ministry of Tourism also attended the Road Show. Some of the important presenters and dignitaries at the function to evangelize the power of this event were Sultan Ahmed, Ministry of State for Tourism; Anand Kumar, Joint Secretary Tourism; Annabella Arya, Regional Office, India Tourism Office L.A.; Uttank Joshi, India Tourism Office L.A.; N. Parthasarathi, Counsel General San Francisco; and Sujata Thakur, Regional Director, India Tourism Office, NY.

Anand Kumar, Joint Secretary Tourism, said, “This being the first trip to San Francisco, we are making it evident that what we expect from American tourists is not financial gains from the trade but love and affection for the country and the destination. A person to people bonding is what we expect”. With rich heritage, distinct culture and history, one can claim that India can offer tourist destinations for 356 days a year considering the fact that India has a destination for every season. “One of the best winter destinations in the world is Jammu and Kashmir. Monsoon can be experienced with a divine touch at Kerala. If heights and adventure are part of your plan, we have the Himalayas offering adventure and at the same time, bliss”, said Sultan Ahmed, Ministry of State for Tourism.

Since the day Swami Vivekananda brought Yoga to the western world, which originated in ancient India, it has been one of the prime attractions in the field of Medical tourism. Though the countries over the world has the presence of wellness centers, India is the best place for yoga therapy and thousands of medical tourists flood the state of Karnataka, Maharashtra and the capital city of India, New Delhi. The motive of this event was to make travel and tourism the engine of economic growth and development of the world. In the last G20 Summit, Los Cabos, it was discussed that travel and tourism is an important vehicle for job creation, and economic growth and development and recognized that states will have solemn rights regarding the entry of foreign nationals, and efforts will be made to ensure that the tourists will be made familiar to travel facilities offered. India Tourism will work relentlessly in order to make travel facilitation in support of job creation, quality of work and poverty reduction and this in turn will result in global growth.

After the statement was issues at the previous year’s summit, the tourism ministry and the Government of India have taken it seriously and as a result of which, India will host a special conclave in the city of Gaya next month. The conclave will play host to about three thousand delegates.

“Our recent research shows that one percent of the total population of Buddhists live in the U.S. We want to invite them for the conclave. We are trying to channelize it through media for its stronghold as a means of communication. We would like them to visit the birth place of Buddha, his shrines and other places associated with Buddha,” said Kumar.

Blemishes of Tsunami and earthquake than surely hindered the tourism industry in India, but the Incredible India Road Show at San Francisco will surely be a healing therapy to the Indian tourism industry and help India contribute considerably to the world tourism fund.
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