Published on : Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Organised by Indian Chamber Of Commerce, Travel India 2017 was a two-day event being held from 19th December to 20th December at the Taj Bengal in Kolkata, India. The event was a conference and expo focusing on the various niches of the tourism sector.
Mr. Apurva Salapuria, Chairman, Tourism Expert Committee, ICC spoke about the hotel industry boom addressing the theme of the event. Sharing his insight, Mr.Salapuria said that he feels Indian travel industry has been witnessing an intense demand for hotels that exceeds supply and is poised to continue growing in the next few years. The impact of demonetization in both the organized and unorganized sectors was well discussed and he sounded hopeful about the recovery of the hospitality sector from its adverse effects. Inflow of credit has also continued its course despite the new GST regulations. Overall, Mr.Salapuria ended on a positive note saying that the Indian government has a lot of scope to leverage technology as a major growth stimulant for the tourism industry however the major concern remains to be the lack in infrastructure.
Mr. G.M. Kapur, INTACH Kolkata Chapter, offered his views mainly about ‘heritage tourism’. Exempilifying Rajasthan and Kerala in its efforts in terms of heritage preservation, he focussed how the intangible domains such as performing arts, traditions etc. can be explored for the scope of tourism. efforts in terms of heritage preservation. He feels that in West Bengal, ‘Rajbari’ (old aristocratic palatial mansions) can be used for tourism, thanks to a good amount of government thrust in this direction. Furthermore he asserted that the government should have excellent infrastructure, also in terms of the infrastructural facilities like the people that might come to the aide of tourists, apart from a comprehensive planning.
He exclusively told Travel And Tour World Cultural heritage tourism is a vast subject. “We have a variety of cultural diversity and as far as tourists are concerned the diversity is just mind boggling.” He thinks also here, that the Government of West Bengal should take efforts to safeguard the heritage properties.
Speaking of performing arts as major tourism growth propellant, in Rajasthan each Haveli has local artist comes and performs traditional dance, it comes a philip to local artists same thing in Kolkata also.
Speaking about the concern of overtourism, he said unfortunately India is so overpopulated that domestic tourism itself becomes a burden to every place especially the heritage sites and there has to be an important government initiative.
He also thinks spiritual tourism should be improved in India. For instance the Vaishno Devi shrine attracts a large number of tourists Ajmer Sharif too, while a lot of tourists arrive from Southeast Asia to Buddhist sites.
Sensitive planning in infrastructure is required. There is also a good deal of potential in east and north east. The government should be cautious that ecological balance should be well maintained before arriving at any plan of action.
Dr. Suborno Bose, Chief Mentor and Chairman, IIHM & Indismart Group Worldwide shared his views on ‘human resource’ in tourism and how macro level skill-sets in the hospitality sector will always remain of great demand.
JP Shaw, India Tourism, Regional Director spoke about the promotion of India as a 360 year round destination. Sharing some of the recent statistics, Mr.Shaw said Bengal is at the 5th position in FTA and for domestic tourists, ranks at 9th position. Speaking at the event, he also mentioned about the ease of the e-visa procedure, the newly launched ‘Swasthya Seva’ app, 1363 as tourist helpline number, and free wifi for 30 minutes at major tourism sites.
Mr. Goutam Deb, Minister in Charge, Department of Tourism, Government of West Bengal was the Chief Guest of the event. He nicely summed up about the tourism opportunities of West Bengal including tea tourism, beach tourism, rise of homestay options, newly launched MICE projects, PPP business models and adventure tourism.