‘Incredible India’ roadshows in US to woo American tourists

HOUSTON, June 24:
Showcasing India as a “must visit” tourist destination, the Indian Government organised roadshows in four US cities to woo American travelers and make them aware of magnificent holiday options in the country.
The Incredible India roadshow was held in New York, Houston, Chicago and St Louis from June 18 to 22 during which American travel enthusiasts walked through various tourist destinations digitally and informed about travel options through experts and tour operators.
Minister of State for Tourism K J Alphons, speaking at a roadshow in Houston, said India would double the number of tourists from US within the next three years as visiting India is not just a vacation but a lifetime cultural experience that enriches mind and body.
“Last year 1.37 million Americans visited India and we had 1.25 million Indians visiting America so we want to double these numbers in three years. America is our biggest tourism partner,” he said.
“India has everything that any travel enthusiast can dream about and explore; be that Himalayas, splendid architectural monuments, deserts, seacoasts, backwaters, royal trains trips, tropical forests, performing arts, paintings, trekking, cycling, rafting, paragliding, medical tourism,  diverse cuisine and vibrant culture,” he said.
Assuring the safety of tourists in India, the minister said, “India is one of the most secure countries in the world – unfortunately some media have the habit of exaggerating what’s happening in a country of 1.3 billion people. You have stray incidents happen these are stray incidents. India is a very very safe country. The number of tourists visiting India is increasing and many of them, including women, are travelling alone.”
He said India wants to take the essence of the country’s 5,000-year-old civilisation to the world.
“We are now focusing on what we think is the essence of India which is two things, number one the fact that we are a 5,000-year-old civilisation and we don’t take you somewhere and say well this is where it was, but where it is we have a rich cultural heritage, which is very much intact and alive,  I mean everyone has heard of the Taj Mahal, which of course is a marvel, but we also have have 35 other magnificent  monuments, numerous 9th century temples, that are architectural marvels, but unexplored,” the minister said.
With the focus on projecting India as a “must visit” tourist destination, the roadshows had direct B2B interactions, presentations and press briefings in the all four cities.
During the roadshows, videos featuring international celebrities who visited India were shown in which they expressed their fascination with various aspects of India’s culture.
The celebrities included Emma Puttick, a fashion designer, who visited India several times to gain inspiration for her clothing designs.
Also featured is professional golfer Carly Booth, who played golf at several golf courses in India, including Maharajah Gaikwad’s private course across his palace in Baroda.
A Ministry spokesman said the US is among the top three source countries in the percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India.
During April 2018, the US was the second highest source country with 11.21 per cent share of total FTAs. Luxury tourism was of keen interest to American visitors, the spokesman said. (PTI)