Published on : Friday, March 24, 2017
Travel And Tour World spoke to Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India at the ITB Berlin 2017. He speaks about the importance of social media for expanding the tourism sector of the country.
Travel And Tour World: Can you tell us about the strategies for the next 12 months?
Suman Billa: India is a heritage destination and we have 35 world heritage monuments. We have immensely benefitted from our multiple publicity campaigns.
Travel And Tour World: How are you trying to increase your coverage on the Internet?
Suman Billa: A whole lot of transition is happening for our destination. Our online visibility also depends on how our tour operators and travel trade partners promote it and use this platform for their business. We are very strong in social media platforms, through which we are connecting with travel agencies from all across the world.
Travel And Tour World: How does the initiative of cleaning up (Swachh Bharat Abhiyan) works in India?
Suman Billa: It is a major campaign introduced by our Prime Minister. If India has to maintain its image as a popular tourist destination, first is establishing a sense of security and second is maintaining cleanliness. This campaign runs across the country so we are working with certain restaurateurs and hoteliers to ensure that our ideas of cleanliness are implemented.
Travel And Tour World: How do you plan to work on promoting Buddhist tourism in India?
Suman Billa: Today, the number of Buddhist tourists actually coming to India is 0.005%. But we need to do a lot of work into bringing more Buddhists to the nation and work along with hotels to achieve this aim. Also, a huge infrastructure is required to do this and we are working towards it.
Travel And Tour World: What is your plan about giving free mobile data to international tourists?
Suman Billa: The idea is that any traveller who comes to India would have his details already captured. The most important thing a tourists needs is excellent connectivity with the rest of the world. So we will give them a free SIM card with the facility of making free calls. So it makes it easier to contact taxi drivers in any new locality, upload selfies that you have taken on the way on social networking sites and much more.
The idea is to keep tourists connected to this place. Nowadays people like to keep people posted about where they are, what they are doing. Moreover, safety perspective also is important.