UP Tourism readies a major blitzkrieg to consolidate on goodwill, further footfalls

Lucknow, May 28 (IANS) With many of its recent initiatives receiving wholesome praise from industry and tourists alike, the Uttar Pradesh government is set to roll out a major blitzkrieg and is on a look out for a brand ambassador to promote the state’s offerings, which sources say, will be billed “much beyond the Taj Mahal”.

A series of meetings to decide on a name, preferably from Bollywood, have taken place and the state government seems to have zeroed in on some “big major players from the endorsement world”.

A high-level team of creative professionals flew into the state capital a few days back and made a presentation to senior tourism officials.

Led by acclaimed film director R Balki, the creative team is learnt to have made an hour-long audio-visual presentation before principal secretary Navneet Sehgal, pitching for an emotive and personalized advertisement and promotional campaign for UP tourism. Balki, who is best known for films like “Pa” and “Cheeni Kam”, is also the chairman and chief creative officer of the Lowe Lintas advertising agency.

Looking to increase footfalls of both domestic and international arrivals, the tourism department, senior officials in the government told IANS, has been given a carte blanche by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav “to do whatever it takes to take tourism to a different level in the state”.

A major campaign is being mulled over by the state government mandarins which will not only tell people the world over about the various tourist destinations in the state but would also, through a high-decibel campaign that would include print as well as about 30-40 small audio-visual commercials, “personally invite” the people to come and visit the state.

“The idea is to amplify the travel and tourism potential of UP to the next level,” a member of the creative team told IANS, adding that the campaign would invite the people “to share a feeling and not just an experience”.

With places like the Kalinjar Fort, Asafi Imambada, Rumi Gate, Buddha Stupas at Sarnath, Holi of Brij, the campaign will be focussed on not only the unseen but also the art, culture, religious attractions and crafts of the state.

Other than broadly speaking on these lines, the tourism department is also looking at the stamp of Bollywood Badshaah Shah Rukh Khan, who they feel is the most saleable face for something like tourism.

“There are also campaigns like a ‘Womaniya’ all-women event or personalized print and audio-visual campaigns like celebrities playing local guides for a day, walk throughs like the blue lassi of Varanasi, the Ittar Waali Gali in Lucknow, Mathura pedas, the bhool bhulaiyan, the adventure at Lion safari in Saifai and the mouth-watering galawat kebabs of Lucknow,” an official pointed out.

Various punch lines like ‘Lucknow aakar to apna GPS kharaab ho jaata hai’ and many more are also being worked upon where the idea is to strike a personal connect with the people looking forward to the state as a tourism probable. Sources say the idea has been broached to SRK.

“He has listened to the idea and is cool with being bonded with UP but a yes is yet to come,” the official involved in the negotiations told IANS.

However, since he has a established bond with Kolkata, sources here say, talks are

under way to ensure that any endorsement of UP does not create problems with his personal and strong relationship with West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, who was sworn in on Friday for her second successive term as chief minister.

Navneet Sehgal, while refusing to either confirm of deny the talks of roping in SRK as the brand ambassador, however, said that the department was “doing all it could to further promote tourism in the state. Under the leadership of the chief minister, tourism is now a sunrise sector and we would like to scale up the goodwill generated in the minds of tourists towards the state”, he added.

(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at mohit.d@ians.in)

–IANS

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