Selling ‘Incredible India’ to 16 States

LOS ANGELES: Tucked away in the heart of LA’s Wilshire district is a piece of India – the Government of India Tourism Office. The seemingly quiet place is a beehive of activity that covers the entire western United States and Mexico.
It is their job to market and sell “Incredible India” in 16 states ranging from Hawaii to Texas. And, needless to say Annabelle Arya and her team are doing a superb job.
India Post dropped in at the GOITO office to get a better understanding of how it all worked. GOITO strategy is two fold. Direct advertising in the form of hoardings at prominent locations play a major part. Apart from LA hoardings promoting “Incredible India” can be seen at major intersections of the big cities in the GOITO territory.
Next time do not miss the “Incredible India” hoarding on Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles.
Similar hoardings can also be seen on buses. Some have it at the back, whilst others sport an “Incredible India” livery.
GOITO also provides technical and financial support to tour companies promoting tourism to India. Be it maps, catalogs, participation in Travel trade expos, printing of catalogs, media advertising – GOITO provides robust support materially and financially.
India is a vast and a very diverse country. There is no such thing as the ‘best time’ to visit India. The best time depends on the destination in India. Whilst January is a bad time to visit Punjab, it is a very good time for a trip to Southern destinations like Kerala, Lakshdweep etc.
In India, tourism is a state subject and it is up to the individual state government to determine how much of a tourist destination their state is going to be. It is for the state government to build and maintain the proper infrastructure to attract tourists.
Punjab and Haryana are two good examples.
Haryana, with very little tourist attractions has created new ones in the form of Haryana Tourism Tourist complexes that dot the state. Choosing the right locations the Haryana government built a vast tourist circuit around Delhi and elsewhere. These complexes provide star rated facilities and food and have become very popular for commercial and business tourism. Prime examples of this are Sohna, Dauhera, Surajkund and Badkal Lake around Delhi, all popular venues for corporate events.
Punjab in comparison is nowhere close to Haryana. It’s a state with vast potential for religious tourism with the Golden Temple and other historic Gudwaras including the Takhts at Amritsar, Anandpur Sahib and Keshgarh Sahib near Talwandi Sabo. The Harike Pattan wetlands are a bird watcher’s paradise and there are ample opportunities for water sports and river cruises.
The Ropar Tourist complex is ideally located on a lake shore but has shut down due to utter neglect, corruption and government indifference. The same can be said of other complexes. The state government is so busy eating Karah Parshad that they do not realize that tourism would bring the much needed succor to the state’s floundering economy and its empty coffers.
However far away from Punjab on the other side of the planet GOITO strives to present India’s best to a very curious, inquisitive and travel hungry America.

JS Bedi
India Post News Service

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