Incredible India beckons Omanis


India’s ministry of tourism is eyeing the Omani market thanks to the growing number of visitors from the Sultanate both for business and pleasure.

India has been witnessing a steady rise in the number of Omani tourists and is making all out efforts to lure them away from the traditional areas of attraction. A large number of Omanis continue to visit Germany for medical treatment while the Far East usually holds sway as a leisure destination. But that is changing now as the Indian Ministry of Tourism woos Omanis by promoting India’s myriad attractions aggressively.

As a recognition of Oman’s contribution to India’s tourism revenues, the Ministry of Tourism is planning to open a tourism representative office here in Oman. This was revealed at the ‘Incredible India’ tourism road show organised by India’s Ministry of Tourism in association with the Embassy of India, Oman.

A high-level delegation comprising Girish Shankar, additional secretary at Ministry of Tourism, government of India, V Vasanth Kumar, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Archaeology and Museums, Government of Andhra Pradesh, and Vikas Rustagi, regional director, India Tourism (Dubai) were part of the delegation that gave a a glimpse of “the attractive tourism products as well as the countless cultural, spiritual and travel experiences that India offers as a tourist destination”.

HE J S Mukul, Ambassador of India, said that the number of Omani visitors to India grew by 20 per cent reaching 42,208 in 2011 and was 39,781 in
the first nine months (till September) in 2012.

In his presentation, Shankar said that foreign tourist arrivals to India had witnessed a steady increase over the years. “India’s travel and tourism industry is ranked fifth in the world,” he pointed out.

Development budget accomodation
“India is promoting tourism for economic development and to promote effective dialogue. We are keen on developing budget accommodation,” he added.

According to Shankar, India is looking forward to building a strong relationship among stakeholders and wants to have frequent interactions with partners overseas, while adding that the government has invited foreign direct investment (FDI) in the hotel industry also.

Medical tourism in India is growing at a healthy rate of 20 per cent per annum. Shankar adds that Oman has been one of the major trading partners of India and they are keen on taking that relationship to the next level in all sectors.

In his speech, Vasanth Kumar said, “tourism has an immense potential in rural areas of India and is proving to be a major source of employment.” He said that Andhra Pradesh has excellent MICE capabilities and can host major conventions for upto 10,000 people at one time. He informed that the state of Andhra Pradesh has many places of tourism interest and invited visitors to explore the land.

In 2011, India had 740 million domestic travellers across segments. In the same year, total Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India were 6.29 million with foreign exchange earnings of $16.69bn (global rank-17) up 17.6 per cent from 2010.

India’s foreign exchange earnings from tourism grew by an impressive 14.1 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) during 2011-2012, nearly double the global average.

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