India’s tourism sector is a key focus at the ongoing Arabian Travel Market 2022 (ATM) in Dubai which features 1,500 exhibitors, representatives from 158 global destinations, and an anticipated 20,000 attendees.
The event which opened on Monday and will run through Thursday, is 85 per cent larger than ATM 2021 in terms of floor space, with growth in every single region. The in-person event will be followed by ATM Virtual, which will run from May 17-18.
The Incredible India Pavilion was inaugurated by Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General at the Union Ministry of Tourism, and Aman Puri, Consulate General, Dubai, on the opening day of ATM 2022.
The pavilion is showcasing India as a ‘365 Days Travel Destination’ with something for everyone from culture, adventure, golf, luxury, wellness and medical tourism.
As Indian flight queries for the UAE and Egypt have witness a significant uptick, and the country retains its position as Dubai’s biggest source market, India’s tourism sector is a key focus for delegates, exhibitors and attendees.
With India’s travel industry projected to account for 29 million outbound trips per year by 2025, according to analysis from GlobalData, and ResearchandMarkets.com predicting its outbound tourism market will surpass $42 billion by the end of 2024, ATM 2022 will offer a timely opportunity to explore the vast potential offered by the country’s travel, tourism and hospitality sector.
Data from Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) shows that the country ranked top of the Emirate’s source market list for 2021, accounting for 910,000 inbound visitors, and short-haul flight queries for destinations including Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Egypt have witnessed a 30 per cent uptick among Indian tourists, according to Thomas Cook (India).
The number of inbound tourists travelling from India to the UAE has witnessed a 50 per cent increase of late, with VFS Global processing 40,000 travel visas since Dubai reopened its borders following the pandemic.
With a buyer forum dedicated exclusively to India, attendees, exhibitors and delegates at ATM 2022 will have ample opportunity to take a deep dive into the country’s tourism, travel and hospitality industry, examining current and future trends, and exploring the ways in which destinations across the Middle East can capitalise on this important source market.
Focus Area: The Incredible India delegation is being headed by Brar. Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and the northeastern region are the focus areas from India’s side to showcase to the world. Uttarakhand Cabinet Minister Satpal Maharaj is also in attendance to showcase the opportunities in the hill state.
During the event, India is projecting the various verticals of tourism potential in the country. The Ministry has been aggressively promoting different tourism products and destinations. The major focus has been given to the potential of MICE,film, wellness, medical, luxury, wildlife and adventure Tourism. The Middle East has been the major target market for the Indian tourism. Large number of tourists from the Middle East visit India for MICE, medical, wellness, luxury tourism etc. The Union Ministry of Tourism has been holistically promoting Indian tourism in the Middle East market. Participation in the ATM has been one such initiative by the Centre.
India has opened up for the international visitors, for this the Ministry has already initiated the ‘Namaste India’ campaign encouraging foreign travellers to come to India. The Ministry has also been focusing on confidence-building strategies post-pandemic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal of ‘Chalo India’ thereby urging the Indian diaspora to inspire at least five of their non-Indian friends every year to visit India, calling them ‘Rashtradoot’ emphasizing the role of tourism for the overall economic growth of the country.
Meanwhile, Maharaj discussed the importance of tourist destinations in Uttrakhand that can be leveraged for the promotion of tourism such as adventure tourism, wedding tourism in the state. He also highlighted the initiatives undertaken by the Uttarakhand government with regards to increasing the footfall of tourists in the state, various infrastructure development projects such as Haridwar International Airport and way forward strategies. Religious tourism was always an edge for Uttarakhand, but now state government is giving it a pop touch with music videos and The Beatles ashram projects. Also, the opening of new 124 Himalayan peaks for tourism will encourage adventure tourism in that sector.
Multiple hiking, mountaineering, and cycling projects are ready to welcome the tourist in Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh. The northeast in general, is a virgin area for international tourism. The Ministry of Tourism also marked 500 villages in Uttarakhand and the northeast as “Vishkarma Village”, and each is carrying its art, music, tradition as its ambassador for tourists. It is an amazing way to support the local and folk arts and encourage to start-ups at small level.
The Ministry under its “Incredible India” brand line has been showcasing the country’s rich and diversified tourism potential and providing a platform to the tourism stakeholders to showcase the various tourism destinations and products. Also, to promote India as a ‘Must See, Must Visit’ destination.
It is also working on the National Digital Tourism Mission to centralise all the tourism information at one common portal. As a new trend, the Ministry is also engaging to the influencers and bloggers from various part of India to promote the interior locations and beauty.
The India Pavilion is showcasing India as a “365 Days Destination”, a year-round multi-faceted tourist destination. ‘India Reopening’ as a theme has been amplified during the mart with the ‘Namaste Campaign’.
Around 18 participants from India representing the state governments of Kerala, Nagaland, as well as tour operators, travel agents, and hoteliers/resorts, will be present in the India Pavilion. Apart from this, the state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka are also showcasing their tourism potential.
The Indian tourism outlook is certainly very promising with an upward trend in Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA) barring the period of the Covid-19 pandemic since March 2020 when the international travel was suspended in majority parts of the world. As the situation is getting slowly and steadily getting normalised and international travel have resumed, India is seeing a positive response from most of the source markets. The Gulf and the Middle East region is one of the most important markets for India. The availability of e-Visa facility in three different segments that is tourist, business and medical segment makes it far more convenient for visitors to travel to India.
India is an experiential destination with its kaleidoscope of ancient culture and heritage, ancient systems of healing like ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, naturopathy, natural beauty, including 70 per cent of the Himalayas and over 7,500 km long coastline, rich flora and fauna, world class medical facilities and many other aspects make it a favoured destination for the discerning traveller. The enchanting backwaters, hill stations and landscapes make India a beautiful country.
Theme-based schemes for the integrated development of circuits for improvement of infrastructure in the country have been launched by the Ministry to enable tourists experience the destination fully. The Ministry has also taken the initiative of identifying, diversifying, developing and promoting nascent/upcoming niche tourism products. These have resulted in the development of unique products like rural, adventure, eco, wellness, golf, MICE, medical and cruise Tourism.
One of the regions in focus is the northeastern region. Promotion of tourism of the northeastern states with its rich and diverse tourism products, variety of flora and fauna, and also home to the unique one-horned rhino, is being given special emphasis. This area is also becoming popular with tourists for river cruises. In order to showcase the tourism potential of the region in domestic and key international markets, the Ministryin association with the northeastern States organise the International Tourism Mart (ITM) annually.
India has emerged as a Destination for medical/wellness Travel in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The percentage of Foreign Tourist Arrivals visiting India for medical treatment has been increasing over the years and growing rapidly. India is poised to become a hub for medical tourism because of several factors viz. world class hospitals with latest technology; highly skilled Indian physicians and surgeons; cost effective treatment; excellent quality of care and nursing; less waiting time for availing of medical services; traditional healthcare therapies like Ayurveda & Yoga combined with allopathic treatment providing a holistic wellness destination.
Uttar Pradesh Tourism Deputy Director Dinesh Kumar is camping at Dubai with his team to promote the state as a cultural tourism hub. After developing religious tourism in Varanasi, Mathura and Brij, now the state is focusing on Buddhism tourism. Uttar Pradesh has six major Buddhism sites. In Kaushambi, Cambodian and Sri Lankan monasteries have opened. The state government marked 12 tourism circuits to develop. Development process in the Mahabharat circuit is already on. Monuments and food of the Avadh region is already having a say among tourists. The state government is also engaging bloggers to promote the points at map. It is also allotting the money to local folk artists to maintain and buy their instruments to preserve the art. It also encouraging to its residence to get permission to use their home (up to five rooms) to rent to tourist to give a local feel and promote rural tourism.
Safety and Security of the tourists being one of the prime concerns, the Ministry has a 24×7 Toll-Free Multi-Lingual Tourist Helpline in total 12 languages — Hindi, English, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.