ABHISHEK CHAKRABORTY – New Delhi
Looking at the growing role Indian tourism and hospitality industry can play in the growth trajectory of India, a cross-section of representatives from the top 10 national tourism industry associations joined hands to form Federation of Association in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH), at a ceremony held at the ITC Maurya, New Delhi. With the intention to have a ‘common voice’ for the industry, aimed at abetting tourism whilst evaluating opportunities and addressing challenges within the industry, this is the first-of-its-kind approach by the associations to come forward and increase the number of tourists visiting India.
FAITH, a non-government, not-for-profit Indian tourism and hospitality-led and managed society, aims at being a catalyst for the growth and development of the travel, tourism, hospitality, aviation, transport, convention, adventure and other related industries. It comprises of 10 national industry associations including, Adventure Tour Operators Association of India, Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India, Hotel Association of India, India Convention Promotion Bureau, Indian Association of Tour Operators, Indian Heritage Hotels Association, Indian Tourist Transporters Association, Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India, Travel Agents Association of India and the Travel Agents Federation of India.
Speaking on the occasion, Parvez Dewan, secretary tourism, Government of India, said while there is no decline in the number of tourists coming to India, the momentum has been lost. Though the Delhi gangrape has caused trouble for the tourism industry, there is a two-three per cent rise in the number of foreign tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2013,he said. Welcoming the initiative, Dewan lauded the efforts of the 10 associations in conceptualising FAITH and pledged the support of the tourism ministry to the federation. Though nothing is concrete yet, he said, the government is working on few more measures like no off season, promoting the Himalayas and organising long festivals to promote tourism in India.
Nakul Anand, chairman, FAITH, and president, Hotel Association of India, highlighted the potential of the tourism industry, its challenges and the way forward. FAITH is a consolidated effort of the industry aimed towards creating awareness, particularly at the state level, on the economic imperatives of tourism. We aim to address and collectively brainstorm on the macro dynamics of the industry to ensure tourism its rightful place in India? growth story,said Anand.
Aashish Gupta, consultant CEO, FAITH, presented the FAITH mandate focusing on a pro-active approach with the central and state government that would entail strategic ideation, policy inputs, government plan discussions and global branding initiatives amongst others. He also highlighted FAITH will focus on issues service tax, visa-on-arrival and skill development. Sarabjit Singh, vice-chairman, FAITH, and chairman of the Indian Tourist Transporters Association, expressed his gratitude to all the founder members.