The ‘Incredible India,’ tourism road show was held in Kuwait on Thursday at the Al-Andulus Ballroom, Crowne Plaza. The dignitaries who graced the occasion were Sultan Ahmed, the Minister of State for Tourism, Government of India, P.K Sreemathi, Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Government of Kerala; Ajai Malhotra, the Indian Ambassador to Kuwait, Sadana of India Tourism Board. Members of the Indian Association of Tour Operators also attended the event. The tagline ‘Incredible India’ has been firmly entrenched in everyone’s mind. India has always been an interesting destination whose fascinating diversity has attracted people from all over the world.
However, now it is on the top of list of tour operators and others in the industry. Furthermore, the income generated from tourism is expected to touch $26.1 billion by 2010. Also, tourist arrivals from the UAE and neighboring Gulf countries is expected to significantly boost growth in the money-spinning sector.
The campaign has been highly successful overseas and instrumental in boosting tourism to India. India, for quite some time, has been a sleeping giant in the field of tourism; however, it has awakened and is now taking up a new direction. Rapid improvements in accessibility and infrastructure, well-trained human resources, falling prices and an aggressive multi-pronged marketing campaign under the banner ‘Incredible India’ have given a greatly enhanced the tourism sector and have helped transform the multi-faceted sub-continent into one of the most sought after holiday destinations in the world.
The ‘Visit India 2009’ scheme was launched in April as a confidence building exercise to shore up a world caught in the web of recession. The government of India has announced various incentives for tourists, as well the tourism and hospitality industry. Incentives by way of value additions would be offered to foreign tourists visiting the country during the period from April to December 2009.
The Ministry of Tourism is looking forward to strengthening the spirit of Indo-UAE partnership for trade development and cultural exchanges between the two regions. “India’s centuries old multi-faceted ties with the Arab world, its geographical proximity, long-standing cultural and trading ties between the two nations will help take this partnership to newer heights,” said Sultan Ahmed, the Minister of State for Tourism.
India is also the global healthcare destination as India promotes ‘high-tech healing’ through its private healthcare sector which is a major tourist attraction. As a leading healthcare- services provider in the region, more and more Arab patients are flying to India each year for low-cost but world-class medical treatment. Most estimates claim treatment costs in India start at around a tenth of the price when compared to America or Britain. The country has established world-class expertise in practices such as cardiac care, cosmetic surgery, joint replacements and dentistry. Another major attraction is yoga and naturopathy that play a very crucial role in prevention and cure of various diseases,” explained P.K Sreemathi, Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Government of Kerala. She continued, “Our tour operators have done good business, I think. This time we have chosen the GCC countries. We started in Dubai and we will end in Doha.
Most promotions are held in November and December, and it will go on till February and March. You can enjoy all the seasons of India, the winter. You can also enjoy Indian summer in some places where it is famously cool,” Sultan Ahmed added. “Even though the floods have affected tourism in India, we will improve. We want people from Kuwait to visit India. With this program, we are trying to reach out to the local people of Kuwait. We are organizing such shows to let people know more about India,” he concluded.
The Indian Ambassador to Kuwait, Ajai Malhotra spoke during the occasion, “I am delighted that, we have with us, such an illustrious team for promoting tourism from Kuwait into India and such a distinguished audience with us today. This road show projects the well-known ‘Incredible India!’ campaign and provides a platform for showcasing new Indian tourism products, services and initiatives to a select audience. It will give a special focus to promoting ‘health tourism’ from Kuwait to our state. As part of the campaign, we have just inaugurated a complete bus-wrap of a tourist bus in Kuwait with the ‘Incredible India!’ display.
A series of tourism promotional events will follow, including expanded advertising, increased visits by Kuwaiti journalists and tour operators to India, besides conducting Indian food, film and cultural festivals in Kuwait. The ambassador added, “India and Kuwait enjoy traditionally warm and friendly ties, and our peoples have inter-mingled closely over the centuries. Our excellent bilateral ties extend beyond cultural and civilization linkages to encompass significant political, trade and economic interests. These have stood the test of time and it is my ardent desire that our partnership is deepened and diversified even further in coming years, to mutual benefit.
I invite the people of Kuwait to come and fall in love with India. It is a sub-continent that will fascinate any visitor with its abundant diversity, its unique customs, traditions and vibrant fairs and festivals, its colors, scents, styles, customs, languages, and architecture. Believe me; India can satisfy every taste and every desire – from beaches to snowy mountains, from ancient monuments to being a shopper’s paradise. Come savor its spectacular music, dance and folklore. Come visit its legendary palaces, forts, and architectural masterpieces. Come stay in the finest hotels in the world – our heritage hotels have acquired an enviable reputation for their sheer grandeur and luxury. Come energies yourself with yoga, rejuvenate yourself with Ayurvedic and naturopathy treatments, or participate in yachting, gliding, water skiing or other adventure holidays.” Malhotra added.
India is a 365- day destination, every day we have something going, and everyday suitable, even now there is part of India which is green, snow, weather of beaches, Jungles, and you are always welcome to India, our promotions not only for one day, or one season, our promotions are for India in all seasons. The people of Kuwait have to go to India they will love it. There are no problems with visas; you can get them within three days maximum.” he concluded.
Louis D’Souza, the Chief Operating Officer of Tamarind tours said, “We look overseas so as to let people come to the country, and the reason that we are here in Kuwait today and why we participate in the road show will help us work with a lot of new agencies.” He went on to say, “Kuwait is a lovely market, we have clients from Kuwait who travel to India, and they come and stay in deluxe five stars hotels,” D’Souza added.
Shabeer Hameed, General Manager of Isola Di Cocco, Ayurvedic Beach Resort said, “Isola Di Cocco means the Island of Coconut. We have been travelling all over the places in Europe, US, Australia, and everywhere, as well as some of the countries like UAE, Oman in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and now in Kuwait.
The resort is for relaxation purposes and I think Kuwaitis will love it. It is not a place that is crowded with buildings, the place is for relaxation, and there are a lot of activities people can do in the place.” Hameed added. An evening of traditional Indian cuisine and a cultural program were presented to round off the show.