ETW Staff– Mumbai
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s impact could be seen at the World Travel Market (WTM), considered to be one of the largest tourism trade platforms in the world, which opened in London. The main theme of the India Pavilion at travel expo is world’s oldest city Varanasi and the famous Great Stupa of Sanchi of Madhya Pradesh.
India’s union minister of state for culture and tourism Shripad Yesso Naik who is leading the Indian delegation of country’s tourism marketers inaugurated the India pavilion at WTM with showcasing of Varanasi’s famous ‘Dev Deepawali’, the festival of billion lights also known as ‘Diwali of the gods’ celebrated on the Fifteen days after Diwali every year on the occasion of Kartik Poornima. This year the Dev Deepawali of Varanasi being observed from Nov 3-6, 2014 has coincided with the dates of four day WTM London. The other theme is the famous Buddha Monument Sanchi Stupa situated near Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
Apart from ministry of tourism about 47 exhibitors from India including states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, MP, Punjab, Chandigarh, Chattisgarh, Goa, Assam, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, UP and Sikkim are showcasing their tourism products in the India Pavilion. Total of 172 Indian companies including ITDC, Indian Rail and IRCTC are participating in the tourism trade expo. About 50,000, product owners, tour operators and travel agencies, airlines, technology providers, government ministers, global industry leaders and international travel media are expected to attend the event.
Minister Naik at the pavilion, said, “WTM creates opportunities for India to negotiate business deals with international travel trade and attract tourists as well as discuss issues that affect the sector and expand networks. Besides maintaining excitement about our destination, and all that we have to offer, this platform is about doing business and growing international tourist arrivals to our country. Our tourism sector has a strong base from which we can grow further. The foreign tourist arrival in India including UK during 2013 was about seven million, with growth of 5.9 per cent as compared to the year 2012. This year till September 2014 there has been growth of 7.6 per cent in foreign tourist arrival.”
“The government has been encouraged by the good response to the visa on arrival scheme and plans to extend Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) to the 12 countries. Between January and September 2014, 19,290 visas on arrival were issued compared to 13,859 during the same time last year, reflecting an increase of 39.2 per cent. The countries that already have visa on arrival scheme include Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Finland, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Luxembourg,” the minister added.
“The UK is more than just an important market for India, this market remains our largest overseas source market. Our UK trade partners must know that we are in this market to stay and that we will be working even harder and smarter to grow our market share,”Naik added
Besides interacting with the trade and media, minister Naik will participate in a ministerial summit that brings together tourism ministers and global industry leaders to explore international best practice.