CII conference to focus on creating India tourism brand

NEW DELHI: Against the backdrop of increased focus on tourism as a promoter of economic growth, the government and the industry has embarked on effective promotion, marketing and building the India brand.

As a step towards that the third International Conference cum Showcase on India Tourism and Heritage: Challenge 21, organised by CII in association with Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Tourism, would be held in New Delhi from October 17th to 19th, 2002. N K Singh, Member, Planning Commission would set the ball rolling by addressing the CEO's conclave. Industry leaders would debate on the important role that business plays in tourism and building the India tourism brand.

The conference would help building the India tourism brand and suggest ways and means to make the tourism industry competitive in view of the perceptible shift in consumer preference in the changing global environment.

With the changed perception of the government and increased budget allocation for tourism in the Ninth Plan, the summit would discuss in detail the various challenges and shortcomings faced by the tourism industry. It would also evaluate the important role that corporates can play to revive the tourism business in the country and promote India as a secured and attractive tourist destination of the world.

Jagmohan, Union Minister for Tourism and Culture would address the inaugural session of the conference. N K Singh, Member, Planning Commission and Ajay Maken, Tourism Minister, Government of Delhi would also address the inaugural session. Jaswant Singh, Union Minister for Finance, would address a special session on Tourism --- The Economic Growth Accelerator.

Other speakers of the conference would include Rathi Vinay Jha, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism; V K Duggal, Director General, Ministry of Tourism; Amitabh Kant, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism; Romesh Sabharwal, Chairman, Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation Ltd; Rajeev Talwar, Managing Director, Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation Ltd; Harsh Varma, Regional Representative for Asia and Pacific, WTO; Arun Goyal, Commissioner cum Secretary (Tourism) Andaman & Nicobar Administration; A K Gujadhur, Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Air Mauritius; Ravi Saligram, Former Brand President, America Division of Six Continental Hotels; Rajan Chhibba, Managing Director, KSA Technopak (I) Pvt Ltd; Santosh Desai, Executive Vice President, McCann-Erickson India among others.

A special focus of this year's Tourism Conference would be on Heritage Tourism. India's share in world tourism is only 0.38% and it ranks 50th in world list of international arrivals with only 2.64 million arrivals. Its share in world tourism receipts is a minimal 0.66% with US $ 3.3 billion. To promote India as an attractive tourist destination, there is an urgent need for rationalisation of taxes and a homogenous tax structure should be imposed across all states, CII has suggested.

CII has also pointed out that tax level in India should be in synchronisation with other South East Asian countries. Moreover, tourist facilitation centres comprising information centre, assistance, currency exchange, emergency facilities should be set.

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