Ministry of Tourism, Government of India participated as Official Premier Partner at WTM London 2016. At this year’s World Travel Market, Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent charge) for Tourism and for Culture inaugurated the World Travel Market along with Mr. Simon Press, Executive Director, WTM London and Shri Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism.
WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. Almost 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL – London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM London. WTM London is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals. WTM London is expected to generate around £2.5 billion of travel industry contracts.
The inaugural of World Travel Market London was followed by the inauguration of the Incredible India Pavilion, which represents the theme of India-The Land of Eternal Heritage. The pavilion was greatly appreciated by Minister and visiting dignitaries. At the inaugural of the pavilion, classical dance performances followed by yoga demonstrations. The Minister also launched a website for a new Incredible India Global Tourism Mart in New Delhi next February.
Dr. Mahesh Sharma highlighted the sheer variety of experiences, including UNESCO heritage sites, luxury travel, ecotourism, medical tourism, religious travel, undiscovered regions such as north-east India and wildlife. He added that in the last 18 months, India’s government has invested more than U$400 million in developing tourism infrastructure around the country. He said the government was expanding its e-Visa scheme to make it easier for overseas visitors to travel to India, and is tackling issues of safety and cleanliness.
Shri Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, Tourism delivered presentation briefing the media about various strategies being obtained by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India to promote tourism in source markets and with particular reference to European market. He also briefed the gathering on Governments focus areas such as infrastructure development, promotion of niche areas, such as medical, golf, cruise, MICE etc. While informing about the ease of travel to India, he emphasised on the importance of the EVisa and its positive results on increased number of tourist arrivals. He added that tourists can now receive information and help 24×7 by dialling a toll free number while in India.
Joining the Press Conference yesterday was Harry Potter movie actor and the star of Real Marigold Hotel TV series, filmed in India, Miriam Margolyes who told delegates that India is a wonderful country, not only because of its beauty, variety and richness of culture but the people who make it so special, the people are warm, funny, joyous, welcoming and very, very intelligent –particularly the women; they are extraordinary.
The Press Conference was followed by a session on Responsible Tourism which was opened by Shri Vinod Zutsh who laid out how responsible tourism is being embedded in his country’s official tourism policies. He said that we have to study the carrying capacity of destinations and ensure there is not too much tourism for a destination to bear and added that India is also looking at adopting the principle of polluter pays for the industry.