IATO has written to the Hon’ble Prime Minister seeking his intervention for revival of inbound tourism in the country. In the letter, the tourism body has mentioned the reasons for the decline and suggested steps which can be taken to revive the inbound tourism which has remained much below 2019-20 level.
The letter has drawn attention of the PM to the statement recently made in parliament by the Union Tourism Minister G Krishna Reddy whereby he stated that only 85.9 lakh Foreign Tourist Visitors (FTVs) visited the country in 2022 as compared to 3.14 crore in 2019. The letter lists multiple reasons for decline in numbers- withdrawal of incentives to the inbound tour operators on their foreign exchange earnings which were being used for overseas marketing and promotions; lack of trained tourism manpower in Indian Embassies who are also not able to do regular interaction and follow up with the foreign tour operators. Besides it cites lack of marketing and promotion of tourism in overseas markets as budgetary support for overseas promotion like Fam Trips to India, overseas road shows were withdrawn. Further it mentions non-availability of funds with the Ministry of Tourism for participation in overseas travel marts and approval required from the Ministry of Finance for participation in each mart as a big hurdle in promoting inbound tourism.
According to Mr Rajiv Mehra,President,IATO “ FTVs numbers falling during covid was understandable but now things are absolutely normal but our numbers are nowhere near the 2019 level. These in no way do justice to our country which has so much to offer in terms of natural beauty and rich cultural history”
Adds Mr Mehra, “In the letter, we have also suggested multiple steps which can be taken to revive the numbers. We have requested the government to offer financial support to the inbound tour operators by providing a 5% incentive on their net foreign exchange earnings on the condition that this be utilised for overseas promotions and marketing at least for 5 years or till the time inbound tourism to India reaches 2019-20 level. Second trained MOT officers to be posted at our consulates or embassies for regular interaction and follow up with the foreign tour operators . Advance planning of at least one year and dedicated Budgetary Funds to be provided to MOT for aggressive overseas promotion through electronic and print media ,travel marts participation, Fam trips and other measures required for revival of tourism. Further immediate formation of National Tourism Board which is to be headed by a person whose heart beats for tourism”.
About IATO- Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), is an apex tourism body representing more than 1700 inbound tour operators of the country.