Published on : Thursday, July 15, 2021
In order to revive tourism and strengthen the bilateral relationship between India and Saudi Arabia, the Trade Promotion Council of India held a webinar on Tourism Collaboration between India and Saudi Arabia with assistance from embassies of both countries.
Eminent panelists included HE Dr Ausaf Sayeed, Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia; Mr. G. Kamala Vardhana Rao, IAS, C&MD, ITDC; Mr. Augustus Simon, Director Indian Subcontinent – Saudi Tourism Authority; Mr. Ashok Sethi, Director, Trade Promotion Council of India along with various industry stakeholders and partners.
Speaking about the strengthening Tourism Collaboration between India and Saudi Arabia, Mr. G. Kamala Vardhana Rao, IAS, C&MD, ITDC, on behalf of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, said, “India holds 10th position globally as far as Medical Value Tourism is concerned, due to affordability, accessibility, and availability of medical facilities. It is the 7th dominating country in the world and 3rd in Asia Pacific region in terms of wellness tourism. India has received 4.95 lakh medical tourists in 2017 which has gone up to over 7 lakhs in 2019.”
Besides MVT, it was highlighted that India can offer Saudi Arabian tourists with a vast sea-coast with unspoiled beaches and a huge forest cover with 566 wildlife sanctuaries and 104 National Parks. India is also promoting MICE sector significantly and while people from Saudi Arabia might find it cheaper to visit Dubai for events, India is certainly a more cost-effective destination.
Referring to India’s diverse natural heritage, Mr. Rao highlighted India’s coastal tourism with 7500 kms of coastline as well as the exquisite experience of monsoon tourism in Karnataka and Kerala. He also talked about reviving tourism in the wide snow-capped landscape of Kashmir and in scenic Leh and Ladakh and a special focus regarding developing tourism in nature-rich North East. Mr. Rao also highlighted that the Indian Government has announced issuing free tourist visas for first 5 lakh tourists once visa issuance resume.