Central government to promote tourism via digital, social media: Official

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Lucknow, Feb 16 (IANS) Buoyed by the steep rise in the number of foreign tourist arrivals (FTA) in the country last year, the Union Tourism Ministry will be aggressively marketing domestic religious circuits and adventure tourism through digital and social media, an official said on Friday.

Interacting with the media in the state capital after reviewing the tourism growth and projects in northern states, Union Tourism Secretary Rashmi Verma said the central government is keen to tap to the maximum the potential offered by its tourist sites.

“We have in the past been focussing on the print and television mediums but now on we would aggressively be using the digital, online and social media to attract both domestic and foreign tourists,” she added.

Under the campaign – Dekho Apna Desh, the Indian diaspora will also be targeted in a big way, the official said.

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She added that in 2017, the FTAs grew by 15.6 per cent which was much higher than the 4-5 per cent logged in other countries. Verma said that several audio-visual campaigns to increase the tourist footfalls would soon be unveiled.

With tourism contributing 7 per cent to India’s GDP and 12 per cent in total job creations, it is being accorded top priority by the union government, the official stated.

The second version of the Incredible India campaign, she added, would target the domestic market and informed that parleys were held in the state capital with travel and tour majors to find ways to further fine tune it.

She said that a new mobile application and a new, user friendly, personalized website of the campaign was also underway.

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Pointing out that the opening of the e-visas for 163 countries had been a major trade booster for the tourism industry, Verma said that many private players like JMR and Yatra and public sector undertakings like the NTPC were adopting tourism sites.

Under the ‘Swadesh Darshan’ scheme of the central government 60 projects are already on the roll in Uttar Pradesh and Rs 480 crore have been sanctioned for the same, while under the ‘Prasad’ scheme’ five projects have begun with Rs 150 crore being sanctioned. Kumbh Mela, to take place in Allahabad in 2019, would also be pitched at the international level in a big way and specific events held to promote it at events like ITB in Berlin in March.

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Principal Secretary (Tourism) government of Uttar Pradesh, Avaneesh Kumar Awasthi told the media that a tourism policy would soon be unveiled by the state in which other than provisions of capital subsidy, identification of new tourism circuits will be announced. He also informed that before the ‘Investors Summit’ slated for February 21-22 in Lucknow, 27 MoUs have been inked in the tourism sector. He also said that 11 bidders have come forward for the helicopter rides to prominent tourist spots proposed by the state government.

Like the Diwali celebrations in Ayodhya last year, Awasthi said that Holi will be celebrated in style at Mathura this year. Earlier, the Union Tourism Secretary held meetings with the state Tourism Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

–IANS

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