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Incredible India road show held in San Francisco

Incredible India road show held in San Francisco
July 04
12:17 2019

VIDYA SETHURAMAN

SAN FRANCISCO: An “Incredible India Roadshow 2019” was organized in The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, June 28 by the Ministry of Tourism of India, in association with the Embassy of India.

The event aimed at showcasing India as a preferred destination for tourists from the US. The Indian delegation, comprising representatives from Indian Tour Operators Association (IATO), and representatives from some state government and the hotel industry was led by Meenakshi Sharma, Director General, Ministry of Tourism.  Senthur Kumaran, Assistant Director, India Tourism, New York, and Priya Dingorikar, Tourist Information Officer,  India Tourism, New York, had made impeccable arrangements for all the five road shows held in Washington DC, Boston, Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco.

On an average, 1.2 million American tourists visit India every year. The Department of Tourism has set the goal of increasing it by 10 per cent every year, Sharma said. The show was also aimed at attracting second generation Indians settled in the US to India as a tourist destination in addition to family visits. For this, Sharma underscored the need for creating the right kind of partnership. And now that the connectivity has increased due to more direct flights between the two countries, she hoped that more and more American tourists will opt for India as their destination.

“The road show has reflected that there is a lot of interest among Americans to visit India and explore its various facets ranging from rich cultural and historical heritage to adventure and medical tourism,” she said.

As part of its efforts to promote tourism, India has extended e-visa facility to 167 countries. In 2018, 274,000 Americans visited India through e-visa facility, said Sumati S Rao, Consul (CIC & Visa), at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco. Tourist and business e-visas are good for one year from the date of issue, are valid for stays of up to 180 days, and provide multiple entries into India.

India beckons not only the leisure traveler, but the business traveler as well. The tourism industry generally defines business tourism, as trips that bring together groups for four purposes: meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions – commonly known as MICE.  There has been 15 to 20 per cent annual growth in the inbound MICE segment.

In recent days, India tourism has been promoting travel in the culture- and nature-rich northeastern part of the country.  Akhlae Vizol, Director, Government of Nagaland and Lisapila Anar, Public Relations Officer, Department of Tourism, Government of Nagaland, were part of the delegation for the five road shows.  The Northeast has become a favorite spot for travelers after improved infrastructure and air connectivity, said Vizol.  This destination takes pride in its picturesque landscape, mesmerizing mountains, gorgeous green vegetation, fresh air and rich culture.

Nagaland, often referred to as the Land of Festivals, has traditional events, and combined with life in the rural areas, is exceptionally engaging and distinctive.  All of them are annual events with fixed dates; hence, before visiting Nagaland, the interested traveler can arrange his or her calendar accordingly.

The Ministry of Tourism has launched a 24×7 toll-free multi-lingual tourist helpline in 10 international languages besides Hindi and English. The toll-free number is 1800111363 or on a short code 1363 and is operational 24X 7. The tourist infoline provides information relating to travel in India and assist callers during times of distress while travelling in India and if need be alert the concerned authorities. The languages besides English and Hindi are Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese (Mandarin), Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Incredible India has made a paradigm shift in how the world looks at India in terms of its travel and tourism potential. Today, the country has an immense potential to be a global tourism hub.

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